The worst of the weather is expected on Thursday

The country's in the grip of a big freeze, with a status orange snow-ice warning coming into effect at 3pm this afternoon for many eastern counties.

Snowfall of up to 6 centimetres is expected in some areas.

The arrival of the so-called Beast from the East has led to panic buying, as people try to stock up on the basics.

Some grocery store retailers have reported that sales were up around 40% yesterday, with even higher demand expected as the cold really sets in.

Supermarkets say they are stocking up on basic necessities - with bread, milk and convenience meals already proving popular, as well as batteries, heaters and other winter goods.


Not everyone was pleased with the flurry of activity in shops, with one man in Dublin saying: "I think they're crazy. It's just like coming up to Christmas Eve... you overbuy, and it's only going to last a few days."

It wasn't just necessities, however - with outdoor activity shops reporting hundreds of sleds & toboggans being sold.

The worst of the weather's not due until Thursday, when Storm Emma could bring blizzard conditions.

Here's how today is looking:

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says people should listen to the weather warnings: "Where advice is issued to workplaces and travel, that will be clear and we'll be asking people not to make unnecessary journeys".

Met Éireann says we should know by tomorrow afternoon at the latest whether the weather alert will be upgraded to red.

The National Emergency Coordination Group, meanwhile, met again this morning to hear updates on how the preparations for the arrival of the Beast from the East are going.

Extra fuel payments will be available for elderly people and those in need to deal with the cold weather.

Charities and agencies working with the homeless say they're drawing on the experience gained during Storm Ophelia.

The government's increasing bed capacity to ensure everyone can get off the street. And drop-in centres are being kept open throughout the day.

People are also being urged to check on the elderly and vulnerable members of the community.

Be prepared for the storm with our checklist