It's going snowhere fast as record lows sweep in
Councils battle to keep traffic moving
Published 30/11/2010 | 05:00
UP TO 20cm -- or eight inches -- of snow is forecast to fall over the coming two days, a record for the month of November.
And the Arctic spell that has gripped the country will continue until early next week, with temperatures expected to fall to a record low of -13C today.
The cold weather is likely to lead to severe disruptions of public transport services and widespread closure of schools as local authorities struggle to keep roads open.
Iarnrod Eireann has been forced to leave engines running on trains overnight to prevent fuel freezing, while Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus cancelled services.
The AA said it received a breakdown callout every 30 seconds during yesterday morning's rush hour, while in Wicklow, a heavily pregnant woman was brought from her house to hospital by a mountain rescue team amid fears she might give birth at home.
Some 2,400 households in counties Dublin, Louth and Wicklow were without telephone and broadband service because of storm damage.
Flights from Dublin, Cork and Shannon operated as normal. Flights to Galway were diverted to Shannon. Luas services all ran.
Anyone travelling is urged to check www.transport.ie
Heavy snowfalls in counties Monaghan and Louth forced schools to close.
Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan have put maps of the roads to be gritted on their website, and have advised motorists to use these roads if possible.
Some 750 staff from Dublin City Council were working on keeping the city open, laying salt from 7pm right through the night and clearing footpaths.
Some city bus services were cancelled, particularly where they ran though housing estates. Kildare and Meath roads were dangerous.
It was extremely icy on the M4 Dublin to Sligo road running through the midlands, while the Kinnitty/Mountrath Road and Slieve Bloom Mountain road were closed in Co Offaly.
Icy roads in Co Tipperary were reported in Borrisleigh and Newport with a small number of minor single-vehicle accidents in the region, but no injuries.
Schools in rural parts of counties Carlow, Waterford and Kilkenny were expected to remain closed today because of severe driving conditions.
Bin collections in many areas were also affected, particularly in Waterford, with the council warning none would be collected until the ice had melted.
Driving conditions were described as treacherous throughout western parts of Co Cork -- particularly on hilly areas.
In Schull, a number of homes and businesses were left without electricity and water supplies due to the atrocious weather conditions.
In Cork city, the lough froze over -- and is expected to remain frozen for the next week.
'Grit dumps' have been provided in Co Kerry, where members of the public can take away grit for use on smaller laneways and on private roads.
The Conor Pass was closed to traffic, and the N70 Castlemaine to Tralee road was treacherous. The road between Tralee and Dingle was also said to be very bad, and particular care was advised near Camp village.
While snowfalls were generally confined to higher regions, secondary roads the east Limerick areas of Murroe, Cappamore and Doon areas remained treacherous yesterday.
Tragedy was averted on Achill Island, Co Mayo, when a tour coach that had been evacuated just minutes earlier went off an ice-covered road.
The Ulsterbus vehicle had been carrying 28 passengers on a tour of the scenic Atlantic drive when the driver decided that for safety reasons the vehicle should be emptied.
Minutes later, with only the driver aboard, the coach went out of control near the village of Asleam. Luckily, he was not injured.
Galway City Council asked people not to run taps at night. Levels at the Clifton Hill reservoir are lower than normal, and the council is dealing with burst pipes.
Parents were being urged to supervise their children yesterday after a gang of youths used a giant snowball to block a busy road and then pelted cars with smaller snowballs.
Motorists in counties Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim endured hazardous and often impassable conditions on secondary roads, which had not been treated since the big freeze began.
Mountain-rescue teams remained on standby across the region to assist in emergency call outs to accidents or medical evacuations.
- Additional reporting by Barry Duggan, Conor Kane, Anita Guidera, Majella O'Sullivan, Ralph Riegel, Tom Shiel, Elaine Keogh and Brian McDonald.