Munster feels brunt of weather

Mon, Jan 11, 2010, 00:00

Cork airport has re-opened, but road conditions are problematic around the State despite some thawing of the recent Arctic conditions.

Cork Airport was closed this morning after heavy snowfall yesterday was compounded by freezing overnight temperatures. However, passengers are still advised to check with their flight provider before setting off.

Bus Éireann services on the northside of Cork city have resumed. However, services from the city to Baltimore, Drimoleague and Ballyvourney in west Cork have been cancelled, as has the service to Stuake in mid-Cork.

Gardaí described the main Cork to Mallow road as “treacherous”, particularly around the village of Rathduff. The main Cork to Waterford road between Youghal and Dungaravan was also said to be particularly bad, as is the Waterford to Dungaravan stretch at Lemybrien.

Driving conditions were also described poor around Carrigaline and Ballincollig bypass.

Cork City Council has advised householders not to leave taps running to prevent pipes freezing as water supplies were running dangerously low. The council recommended leaving lights on in attics and trapdoors open to prevent freezing up, and wrapping external pipes in towels.

According to AA Roadwatch, road temperatures are much improved today, although gardaí are still advising people against unnecessary travel.

In Dublin, road conditions have improved markedly today after overnight rain, although there is still surface ice on less-used roads and in housing estates. Motorists are urged to avoid the Strawberry Beds, Tinkers Hill and Knockmaroon Hill, while roads around the Glencullen and Stepaside areas are reported to be treacherous.

The M9 through Carlow is down to one lane in both directions at Kilcullen due to black ice. In Kilkenny, there are treacherous conditions on the N9 Dublin/Kilkenny Road in Thomastown and on the N24 Clonmel/Waterford Road at Piltown.

In Wicklow, the Sally and Wicklow Gaps are impassable. Roundwood, Laragh and Blessington are still icy. There is ice and snow on all routes in Roscommon.

Dublin Bus is operating a full service today with a limited number of curtailments that are listed on its website, All rail services are running normally today, with the exception of the Limerick-Ennis line, which is closed due to flooding.

Met Éireann has predicted an end to the cold conditions – now in their fourth week – by Friday. Forecaster Gerald Fleming said he was satisfied with the accuracy of forecasts. Up to 10cm of snow was originally forecast to fall in Dublin yesterday and overnight, but by yesterday Met Éireann had revised this to 3cm to 5cm of snow inland from the capital.

The assistant director of the Small Firms Association, Avine McNally, has said huge business losses will arise as a result of the weather conditions.

Distribution companies are the worst to suffer, with driving conditions making deliveries impossible in some parts and extremely difficult in others, she said, adding “the retail sector is reporting significant downturn is sales as a result of less people coming out to shop in large towns and cities”.

Many companies are short staffed as employees are having difficulties getting to work with some companies reporting a two hour travelling delay for staff, she added.

Despite a thaw in some parts of the country, risks to the public from slips and falls on icy footpaths are likely to continue in the days ahead, the HSE said today.

The HSE said initial reports from hospitals around the country suggest that whilst there is an increase in the number of patients presenting with fractures and requiring orthopaedic surgery, most hospitals are managing to see patients without having to cancel elective surgeries.