Bad weather to continue next week
Snowy conditions and freezing temperatures will continue up until at least Wednesday of next week with further record temperatures expected overnight and tomorrow night experts at a severe weather briefing warned today.
The National Emergency Response Committee said while problems to date were mainly transport related they expect further issues to emerge in other sectors as the cold spell continues.
Committee chairman Sean Hogan said Government agencies are working closely with local authorities and the Ministers for Transport, Environment and Defence were briefed of the situation this morning.
Mr Hogan said the country continues to have adequate stocks of salt but they are “monitoring and managing” situation carefully.
He asked people and businesses to clear the footpaths in front of their premises and said the issue of liability “does not arise” when snow is cleared and deposited in a safe and sensible way.
Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack warned that a shift from an Arctic to a Siberian air flow over Ireland will result in more record freezing temperatures over the next two nights.
Ms Cusack said although there was a slight rise in temperatures yesterday they dropped back today and she is expecting air temperatures of at least minus 10 tonight with a “high chance of new records tomorrow night”.
There is a very high risk of heavy snow in the East of the country tonight with one or two showers in Donegal. The rest of the country will experience a severe frost.
Tomorrow will see more widespread snowfalls with an extremely severe frost at night.
Ms Cusack said there should be a slight rise in temperatures on Friday as a different weather pattern moves across the country bringing precipitation in the form of rain or sleet before the cold weather returns of Saturday and Sunday night.
Met Éireann is not expecting much snow over the weekend and daytime temperatures may rise to 3 degrees, leading to a slight thaw in some areas ahead of the return of freezing conditions early next week.
Sean O’Neill of the National Roads Authority (NRA) said the national supply of salt stocks stood at 50,000 tonnes today with 20,000 tonnes in store at regional depots.
He said not every road in the country will be covered but the main focus is on national primary and secondary routes.
Mr O’Neill said the country is currently using 3-4,000 tonnes daily with some areas taking two to three times their normal amount.
He said management of the supply is “event located” and described the logistics of moving the salt as “critical”. He said some of the trucks moving the salt are getting stuck in traffic and he again called on people to avoid using private transport.
“The road network is a circulatory system if you get a clot in it its very dangerous, it just stops everything,” he said.
Mr O’Neill said the country has an “open source system” with an ample supply of salt coming into the country.