Floods follow further snowfalls

Wed, Jan 13, 2010, 00:00

Flooding continued to affect Munster today as lingering snow and ice lead to difficult road conditions around the State.

Fresh snowfalls created dangerous conditions for motorists in the east and west last night, while parts of Cork city and county suffered flooding as a result of heavy rainfall and melting ice.

Bus services have been curtailed in the north of the city while the Lee Road has flooded and Fermoy has beem hit by local flooding.

Freezing fog and sub-zero temperatures combined with black ice are causing difficulties for motorists.

Roads in and around Bantry, Macroom, Youghal and Ballyvourney, Charleville and Millstreet are affected by black ice.

The Shanakiel reservoir had its pressure reduced due to leak on the northside of Cork city and authorities are working to return full service to thousands of households later this morning. The service has also been affected by an increase in demand for water which is at some 30 per cent above normal.

According to AA Roadwatch, roads remain bad across Cork and Kerry, with black ice and snow on higher ground and flooding on lower ground.

Ice and slushy conditions have created dangerous conditions in mountainous areas of south Dublin, and motorists are advised to avoid the Glencullen area due to ice and snow.

In Wicklow, motorists should avoid Roundwood, Laragh and Hollywood due to snow and ice. Elsewhere in the county, the Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap are impassable, while Rocky Valley near Kilmacanogue should be avoided.

In Co Offaly, the snow and ice is particularly bad on the N80 Tullamore to Portlaoise road between Killeigh and Mountmellick.

Snowfalls were reported in counties Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny, Sligo and Mayo yesterday, resulting in crashes and tailbacks on roads. Dublin Bus was forced to curtail a number of its services to north Wicklow, Dundrum and Sandyford because of the hazardous conditions.

Wicklow Mountain Rescue said it rescued a Sky news team which lost its way while following satnav directions on a remote mountain pass near Aughavannagh yesterday evening.

Met Éireann said the renewed snowfall would most likely be a “temporary phase”.

Despite the flood threats, many parts of the country are facing water shortages. Local authorities have appealed to householders not to try to store water in their homes. People were urged not to fill baths, sinks and pots from their taps as they are creating a “vicious circle” of water shortage, according to council officials.

Many councils have had to reduce pressure in their water systems or cut supplies at night because of losses from leaks and burst pipes as a result of the weather, as well as people leaving taps running in an effort to prevent frozen pipes.

In addition to water shortages, many homes in north Wicklow, Carlow and Cork were left without electricity overnight as falling timber struck overhead cables.

Teams of ESB engineers worked in bad weather conditions and into the early hours to restore supplies to around 1,500 homes which remained without power.

About 1,000 homes in north Wicklow, including in Avoca and Rathnew, which have already been hard-hit by the snow and ice, were reconnected to the national grid this morning.

An ESB spokeswoman said crews were continuing to work to restore electricity to other affected areas.

An estimated 1,500 homes are still without electricity in parts of Wicklow, Carlow, Cork, Cork, Kerry, Wexford and Sligo.

About a thousand homes in north Wicklow, including in Avoca, Rathnew, Annamoe, Rathdrum and Roundwood, which were already hard-hit by the snow and ice, were reconnected to the national grid this morning.

An ESB spokeswoman said crews were continuing to work to restore electricity in other affected areas.

Bus services were affected in Cork and Limerick, while six bus routes were restricted in Dublin.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley, who is overseeing the handling of the crisis caused by the weather conditions, said authorities had done everything they could and for the most part had succeeded in improving conditions.

“This has been a very unusual cold snap, and I understand the frustration that is out there,” he said.

“But I can assure you the local authorities have not been found wanting.”

On the weather front, today saw mainly rain over over parts of Leinster, with some sleet and snow on high ground for a short time, clearing later.

According to Met Éireann, it will be cold overnight tonight, with lowest temperatures reaching -3 degrees, with a sharp to severe frost and icy surfaces. Some fog is also possible.

Dublin airport was operating normally, but there are some delays and cancellations due to adverse weather conditions in the United Kingdom. Passengers are advised to check with their airline regarding their flight prior to travelling to the airport.

Additional reporting: PA