Storm Emma - regional roundup: how is your area affected?

Snow reported to be waist deep in Meath, while all roads are impassable in Tipperary

While Galway city experienced intermittent snow showers during the day, conditions are said to be very poor in eastern parts of the county with reports of serious snow drifts. Video: Joe O'Shaughnessy

 

Dublin:

The capital city is deserted on Friday as shops remain closed and rail and bus services remain in shutdown mode.

Snow continues to fall on Friday afternoon following a lot of drifting of snow overnight, particularly in areas like Lucan.

There are reports of a number of motorists who failed to heed warnings to remain at home getting stranded in cars overnight. Gardaí say that while city centre roads may be clear, roads in the suburbs are treacherous and people should stay off the roads barring emergency situations.

Supt Tom Murphy of the Garda roads policing unit said one woman’s car which was stuck in a snow drift could only be found after she was asked to place her handbag on the roof of her vehicle.

On Friday evening, AA Roadwatch said the majority of routes in Tallaght, Citywest, Clondalkin, Lucan, and Dundrum are impassable, while the weather has also affected routes in Crumlin, Terenure, Cabinteely, Sandyford, the Castleknock area, Ballymun and Swords.

Many homes and businesses were hit with power cuts overnight.

“Since 10pm last night, there have been a number of significant faults on the ESB Networks arising from the worsening weather conditions. These faults mainly occurred in the eastern part of the country and the greater Dublin area. At the peak of the faults around 1.30am, there were 117,000 homes and businesses without electricity,” the ESB said in a statement issued at 7.20am.

“Overnight, ESB Networks operations staff have been rerouting power remotely from our control centre to restore electricity to 83,000 homes and businesses. In parallel, on-call network technicians were dispatched, where it was safe to do so, to various ESB substations across Dublin to restore supply to additional customers,” it added.

“The largest fault occurred at Ringsend 110kV station in Dublin at 1.30am. Ringsend 110kV station is one of the bulk electricity supply points for the east and south of Dublin city resulting in electricity being lost to 90,000 homes and businesses in parts of Dublin ranging from the city centre, Ringsend, to Dundrum. We have restored supply to almost all of those affected by this fault so far.”

Dublin Fire Brigade’s ambulance service responded to 214 calls between 4pm on Thursday and 6am on Friday. During the same period they also dealt with 62 fire incidents.

District officer David Kavanagh told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that most people heeded the red weather warning and stayed off the roads.

Fire tenders assisted ambulances in getting to some calls while other crews had to dig themselves out, he said.

Dublin City Council said on Friday afternoon that reports have been received from council tenants with heating and other maintenance issues and staff are responding within resources and access constraints to priority issues. Tenants should report issues to (01) 679 6186.

It also said a number of its facilities will remain closed until Saturday. These include the Hugh Lane Gallery, city council libraries, sport and leisure centres, swimming pools, community centres and other public offices and facilities. See www.dublincitycouncil.ie for updates.

Northeast:

In Cavan, the county council has said the combination of high winds and snowfall overnight had led to snow drifts of up to 2m in places.

It warned that “routes that may appear passable at first may be blocked by drifting snow further down the road, leaving motorists stuck”. Local and regional roads and housing estates may be treacherous, but main routes are passable with care.

It urged drivers to continue to stay at home.

“Salting crews and snow ploughs have been out since early this morning clearing the road network, but this process will take some time to complete, and the public is asked to remain patient,” it said.

In Monaghan, the county council commenced snow ploughing and gritting of national roads at 6am on Friday. It said all national primary and national secondary roads in the area are open and passable, including the N2 Dublin–Derry road, the N12 Monaghan to Tyholland route, the N54 Monaghan to Clones road and the N53 Castleblayney to Culloville road.

All local roads in rural areas are untreated and in a treacherous condition.

However, the AA reported on Friday evening that road conditions are starting to improve.

Louth County Council is currently deploying gritters and snow plough crews but warns that cars are getting stuck on roads and are impeding their work. “Please stay off the roads until further notice,” it said.

Overnight the fire services in Drogheda and Ardee helped to dig out ambulances.

A number of people are reporting the N2 is impassable south of Ardee near Hunterstown.

A lot of roads in Meath are impassable, particularly around Dunboyne, Ashbourne, and Kells, and in places drifts of snow are reported to be up to waist height.

Power outages hit the Staleen water treatment plant but power has now been restored. While the plant is operational again customers are advised that it will take a number of hours to recover water levels in reservoirs, so supply to Ratoath may be lost for a period on Friday. – Elaine Keogh

South:

Heavy snow falls in Cork overnight have made driving conditions in the city and county treacherous, with gardaí urging people to remain indoors unless there is an emergency journey to be made.

The warning comes as a 19-year-old boy remains in a serious condition at Cork University Hospital after he fell while walking with his father in the Mayfield area of the city at about 3.20pm on Thursday.

It is understood he stood on a low wall near a soccer pitch to take a photograph and fell. The youth suffered a serious neck injury. His father raised the alarm but ambulance personnel could not gain access to the field because of accumulated snow.

A unit of Cork City Fire Brigade attended the scene and firefighters brought the injured teenager out on a spinal board to ambulance personnel.

It is understood the boy’s father collapsed with shock at his son’s injury and he too was removed from the scene by ambulance to Cork University Hospital.

Meanwhile, Cork city remains on high flood alert for tidal flooding in the river Lee even though high tide at 5.41am on Friday morning passed off without incident.

Fears of high tides leading to flooding in towns such as Youghal and Midleton in east Cork, and Bantry and Clonakilty in west Cork, also proved unfounded, with high tides passing off without incident.

The ESB Networks southern division manager, Denis Cambridge, confirmed crews are trying to identify the exact location of a fault which has left 1,200 homes in Co Cork without power.

Heavy snow and ice brought down a line in the Carrigaline area at about 7.15am on Friday. This has affected houses in the Kilmoney area of Carrigaline, along with homes in Ballyfeard and Tracton.

According to Mr Cambridge, ESB crews are liaising with Cork County Council staff to try and access the line with a view to sectioning off the fault so as to restore power to as many homes as possible.

He said weather conditions were too severe and dangerous at the moment to try and repair the fault and, in those circumstances, sectioning off the fault was the most prudent course of action at the moment.

ESB crews are also working to restore power to about 50 houses in the Garrettstown and Sandycove areas near Kinsale that were left without power when a line came down at the Old Head of Kinsale.

Irish Water has reported supply disruptions in the Charleville area due to low water levels at the Kilaree reservoir, as well as a number of burst pipes in the Cobh area.

Staff at Cork Airport are continuing to clear snow from the runways in anticipation of the airport re-opening for flights at 6am on Saturday morning, weather permitting. – Barry Roche

West:

Galway is monitoring flooding risks caused by high Spring tides on Saturday amid some fears that a rapid thaw of snow could contribute to water heights as the river Corrib runs into the bay.

The city council’s Aquadam bund, a type of inflatable barrier, is in place at Spanish Arch, and the highest tides are expected on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan said a 6am tide height of 5.44 metres on Saturday,with a storm surge of 0.25m, would cause some overtopping in normal conditions.

“The risk will be if there is any rapid thaw, as the gullies will be backed up by the high tide,”he said. Galway recorded a 1.7m storm surge during Storm Eleanor on January 2nd, when the city centre experienced a flash flood.

Army and Civil Defence drivers have spent the past two days and nights transporting medical staff to and from hospitals in Galway, due to hazardous road conditions caused by Storm Emma’s deposits of snow and ice.

Several Air BnB owners in Galway city have offered use of their premises at no charge for staff at the Galway University Hospital group, according to the general manager Chris Kane.

Up to 100 staff have also availed of accommodation in the hospitals, in local bed and breakfasts and in Air BnBs over the past two days.

“We had over 50 people on trolleys in GUH’s emergency department, and we had challenges in ensuring there was staff duty at night, particularly for intensive and critical care,”she said.

Patients who were discharged but could not travel home safely were also accommodated in local guesthouses, and will be collected by their families over the weekend when safe to drive,she said.

The national warning to people to stay indoors may have paid off in reduced numbers of people requiring medical assistance for falls, she said.

The snowfall over Thursday night in Galway extended from north of Tuam around Abbeyknockmoy to Ballinalsoe in the east to Gort in the south where there was up to 20 cm by early afternoon. One farmer noted that this was “far heavier than in 1982”.

Ireland West Airport in Knock, Co Mayo, and Shannon airports were closed, and public transport was suspended, but Bus Eireann says some services may resume on Saturday, depending on local road conditions.

Irish Water had supply issues due to mechanical faults in An Cheathrú Rua and Tír an Fhia in Connemara, and low pressure in other areas, including parts of north and south-east Galway and Inishbofin island. It has appealed to people not to run taps.

Galway port has been operating normally ,and has been providing kerosene fuel to delivery lorries which would normally serve the north-east and parts of the north-west from Dublin port.

Several fishing skippers also used the port to travel by sea to the national Skipper Expo, which opened as normal on Friday in Salthill, Galway.

“Extreme conditions are nothing new for fishermen,”Capt Sheridan noted. Lorna Siggins

Midlands:

Motorists are obstructing attempts to clear roads by venturing out and getting stuck in snow, Offaly County Council has said.

The message was repeated by a local Garda spokeswoman who advised people not to venture out in cars just to see what conditions are like.

The county council reminded people to remain indoors unless there’s a medical emergency.

“People who are attempting to drive are significantly hampering our treatment efforts and slowing down and obstructing our ploughing,” the council stated. It said routes were only passable with extreme care.

Meanwhile, fire service and civil defence personnel have been assisting key workers in the HSE, in the hospital and the wider community to get to work in extremely difficult conditions.

Elsewhere in the county, problems are persisting with the power supply to some properties in Edenderry and nearby Clonbullogue.

Many roads are impassable around Birr and Tullamore, while the N80 between Killeigh and Mountmellick is down to one lane.

On Friday afternoon, the ESB reported a fault in Portlaoise. – Eoghan MacConnell.

Southeast:

Heavy snowfall persisted throughout Tipperary on Friday, with a minimum of 10cm of snow everywhere and up to 20cm in many areas, Tipperary County Council said.

Snow plough and salting operation crews have been activated on all priority routes since 9am on Friday and continued until dark. However, progress was very slow and little headway was being made, the council said.

In a statement at 1pm on Friday it said: “All roads are still impassable. Extreme caution is advised and all unnecessary journeys should be avoided.

“Weather conditions will continue to be monitored over the next 24 hours and other essential outdoor crews will be mobilised once weather conditions improve.”

Significant snowfall across Co Wexford on Thursday night has continued on Friday morning, with depths of 10-15cm reported in the Wexford town, Gorey and Enniscorthy areas, and 5-10 cm in the New Ross area.

Gardai in these areas are advising not to take to the roads.

In Bunclody, drifting has led to more than a metre of snow in places.

Wexford County Council, in a statement at 8am on Friday, said snow ploughs have mobilised across the county since 7.30am, with priority to national routes.

The council continues to advise the public not to travel, saying all routes are currently extremely hazardous.

Wicklow County Council said council crews worked throughout the night clearing snow and gritting roads. The N81 remains impassable, with several metres of snow accumulated in places. Roads were impassable around the Wicklow town, Arklow and Baltinglass areas, with flooding reported in Wicklow town following high tide on Friday evening.

The council said conditions are and will remain very difficult and the public are advised to continue to exercise high levels of caution for their own safety in the extreme cold, accumulated snow and icy conditions underfoot.

“There are variations in storm impact across the county and the public need to take account of circumstances locally before deciding to venture outdoors or undertake journeys. In particular, it will take some time to get roads open again and the public should seek local updates on road conditions,” it said.

The council’s fire service was also active throughout the night and into the morning attending to a number of calls for assistance, including the rescuing of stranded motorists on the N81, securing fallen electricity lines in Bray and attending to a road traffic incident on the N11 at Arklow.

Irish Water has issued a precautionary boil water notice for the Annacurra area following a breakdown of the chlorine pump.

On Friday afternoon, the ESB reported faults in Arklow and Enniscorthy.

North:

The wintry weather is mainly causing problems in counties Armagh, Down and southern parts of Antrim.

The Met Office has said a yellow weather warning is in place in Northern Ireland through to Saturday.

About 400 schools were closed on Friday and there was disruption and delays on the roads, with some bus services not operating as normal.

Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport are open but some flights have been cancelled. Air passengers should contact the relevant airlines to check on the status of their flights.

All Rathlin island ferry sailings to Ballycastle on Friday were cancelled.

A statement from Stormont’s Executive Office, which is being run by civil servants in the absence of devolved government, said: “The department for infrastructure has advised that road conditions in the southeast in particular are extremely difficult. While efforts continue to clear snow from the main roads and snow ploughing is ongoing, local people should only travel if necessary.

“Salting on the scheduled road network across the rest of Northern Ireland will continue and road users should continue to take extra care if travelling.”

The North’s department for communities has confirmed the latest spell of cold weather has triggered a further round of Cold Weather Payments for parts of Northern Ireland. A further £1 million will be paid automatically to approximately 43,000 people who qualify for the payment and are living in the postcode areas covered by the Met Office’s Katesbridge and Glenanne weather stations.

The department will make the £25 payments automatically and customers can expect to receive their payment on Wednesday, March 7th.

NI Water is appealing to property owners to leave the heating on low if the building is going to close for a few days and, where it is safe to do so, to check empty properties over the weekend for burst pipes. – Amanda Ferguson

Northwest

Most parts of Donegal escaped with just a light dusting of snow during the freezing cold snap.

However, some parts including Creeslough, Dunfanaghy, Falcarragh and Buncrana experienced isolated snowfalls where there was up to 12 inches of snow in places. The last 48 hours have been busy for Donegal County Council gritting crews as they worked to keep all the main routes across the county open. Gritting/ploughing trucks were deployed until 11pm on Thursday night and started again at 5am this morning spreading more than 500 tonnes of salt and grit in the past 24 hours.

Some local roads remain impassable due to snow accumulations from Thursday and these are only being cleared by the Council’s Roads Service where an emergency exists.

Donegal County Council’s Civil Defence were activated by the HSE to transport patients and staff in 4x4 vehicles. A number of homes, including 1,200 in Buncrana and 155 in Goath Dobhair, who were without electricity this morning have had their power restored by the ESB networks.

There were no reports of any major snowfalls in Donegal on Friday. – Stephen Maguire