Dublin and Cork airports have closed and much of Ireland's infrastructure has ground to a halt as it hunkers down for what the Irish premier warns is "an extraordinary weather event".
The highest red alert is in place and Taoiseach Leo Varakar has told people to “be back in their homes no later than 4pm" as the storm approaches.
"If you are out, please make sure you get home before then," tweeted Mr Varadkar.
He said: "The risk to life and limb presented by severe weather conditions should not be underestimated."
We are facing an extraordinary weather event. I have instructed all of the machinery of the State to work together to keep people safe. Be prepared in your homes, look out for vulnerable neighbours & avoid unneccesary travel in red areas. Updates at https://t.co/jV1buaTzO6— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) 28 February 2018
The Irish military is also on standby after Mr Varadakar "instructed all of the machinery of the state to work together to keep people safe".
Sixty 4x4 vehicles and over 120 personnel have been sent out in the last 24 hours to help keep essential services going, said Ireland's defence minister.
The red alert - from Ireland's weather service - warns of persistent blizzards this evening, coupled with sub-zero temperatures and a fresh dump of snow.
It is set to be the country's worst snow since 1982.
All schools and colleges have also closed and the country is now largely cut off from air travel as Storm Emma blows in from the Atlantic.
Dublin and Cork airports have shut until at least tomorrow, and possibly Saturday.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair both suspended flights in and out of Dublin, with other airlines following suit from around 3pm on Thursday.
The airport, Europe's 14th busiest, said: "We will have snow crews working today and tomorrow to continue to clear the runway, taxiways, aircraft parking stands and apron areas for our airline customers' planned resumption of services on Saturday morning."
Cork airport, in the southwest, also pulled the plug on flights, tweeting: "@CorkAirport is closed and normal operations are not expected to resume until Saturday morning next."
Irish Rail said no services were expected to run on Friday and buses in Dublin have also stopped until Saturday.
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Sky’s Darren McCaffrey tweeted pictures of the centre of the capital on Thursday afternoon, showing it virtually deserted as people heeded the warning to stay indoors.
The red alert comes as parts of the UK face their own severe weather warning, with Storm Emma combining with the freezing Siberian blast that has swept across much of Europe.
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