Winter Storm Emma: France, Ireland, UK, and Switzerland

March 1, 2018, 12:00 pm


Winter Storm Emma has carried severe snow and ice from eastern Russia and is expected to continue causing significant travel disruption across Western Europe until at least 2 March 2018. The storm has caused several airports in Scotland, Ireland, and Switzerland to close on 1 March. There have been delays and cancellations at London Heathrow (LHR), London City (LCY) and London Gatwick (LGW) airports. France also continues to experience weather-related travel disruption. 

While land journeys can take longer than usual during to the severe weather, and traffic congestion is likely, public transport services are also vulnerable to short-notice disruption. The following are known disruptions: 

  • France: An amber warning (second level on a on a three-tier scale) is in force for the capital Paris and a wide band of areas across the center of the country. Snow and ice in these areas is expected to affect travel until early on 2 March.
  • Ireland: Flights were cancelled early on 1 March at Cork Airport (ORK) before resuming from 10.00 (local time). There have been numerous cancellations at Dublin airport (DUB), while Shannon (SNN) airport is closed until Saturday, March 3 and is advising travelers to reconfirm flights before setting out for the airport on Saturday. A red warning (highest level on a three-tier scale) is in place for all of Ireland's counties until 15.00 on 2 March due to expected blizzard conditions from the afternoon of 1 March. 
  • United Kingdom: Red alerts are in place until 2 March across central parts of Scotland, including the capital Edinburgh and Glasgow (Glasgow City Region), and in south-western England. An amber alert is in place until 2 March in central and northern parts of England and much of Scotland, while a yellow alert has been issued for London. More than 30 flights were cancelled at Manchester airport (MAN) on 1 March, and Paddington railway station in London has also closed, halting Heathrow Express services. Numerous other train services have been cancelled, and road travel has been severely affected, with some vehicles stranded.
  • Switzerland: Snowfall overnight on 28 Feb-1 March caused traffic disruption and delays to transport. Departures at Geneva airport (GVA) resumed at 11.00 after an earlier halt to operations, but the facility will remain closed to incoming flights until 13.00.


For more information


Travel Advice

  • Anticipate potential travel disruption and maintain flexible itineraries and until at least 2 March due to heavy snow and ice. Monitor local news sources for weather reports.
  • Contact the relevant service provider or airport to reconfirm schedules. 
  • Ensure routes are clear before setting out and allow additional time to reach your destination. Exercise heightened caution due to the dangerous conditions created by snow and ice.
  • Public transport services are likely to be disrupted due to the severe weather. Anticipate an increased demand for private hire vehicles and taxi services.
  • If going outside, consider dressing in layers and wearing waterproof shoes.  

As always, if you are abroad and in need of immediate assistance (medical or security related) please call International SOS at +1-215-942-8478 or UTPD at +1-512-471-4441.