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Run on bread in Ireland as snow-packed storm Emma looms

© Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP/File | Dire weather forecasts for Ireland prompted a run on staples like bread, milk and vegetables, as shoppers stocked up on supplies to last several days

DUBLIN (AFP) - 

Anxious residents in Ireland were hoarding bread Tuesday ahead of the arrival of a storm expected to cause the heaviest snowfall in decades.

The National Meteorological Service, which had already issued a series of snow-ice alerts for the start of this week, was expected to publish new advisories for storm Emma's imminent impact.

"A spell of persistent and heavy snow is expected to extend from the south late Thursday and Thursday night, with significant and disruptive accumulations," it said.

Authorities have called on people to avoid making unnecessary journeys -- advice they appeared to have heeded.

The dire forecasts prompted a run on staples like bread, milk and vegetables, as shoppers stocked up on supplies to last several days.

"We are seeing increased traffic to our stores as people begin to stock up in advance of the storm," a spokesman for Lidl stores told AFP.

He added the chain had been forced to increase its orders to replenish shelves.

Supermarket giant Tesco said it had ordered 20 percent more bread than usual, according to the Irish Independent newspaper.

The rush prompted a flurry of pictures on social media of seemingly ransacked supermarkets.

Netizens flooded Twitter with photos of empty bakery sections and bare shelves.

"It's fair to say the people of Ferrybank and Slieverue are taking the #Beastfromtheeast serious", wrote one Irishman, referencing the nickname for the Siberian air mass sweeping Europe this week.

Hashtags like #snowmaggedon and #breadwatch have been going viral online as people prepare for the storm.

Some chose to mock the potential overreaction, while others shared homemade bread recipes in anticipation of the worst-case weather scenarios unfolding.

© 2018 AFP