Thursday 20 July 2017

Snow-go areas: another 24 hours of Arctic weather ahead

Eleven-year-old Sarah Fitzpatrick of Lemgare, Clontibret, Co Monaghan, takes her horse Ruby out to the field before heading off
to school after a night of heavy snow
Eleven-year-old Sarah Fitzpatrick of Lemgare, Clontibret, Co Monaghan, takes her horse Ruby out to the field before heading off to school after a night of heavy snow

Majella O'Sullivan and Claire O'Brien

THE country faces another 24 hours of Arctic weather, although the threat of snow has receded with drier conditions on the way.

Motorists are being warned to drive with extreme caution due to black ice and freezing fog, as temperatures will again sink to -6C overnight.

Light snow showers are likely on some areas of higher ground today.

The Siberian conditions forced Athy District Court to suspend hearings after it emerged it was -1C inside the courtroom.

Judge Desmond Zaidan described conditions as "unbearable" in the Kildare building and adjourned all contested cases to later dates because it was simply too cold to work.

He rose at midday to find out why the courthouse was freezing and was asked by solicitor Conal Boyce to adjourn for 20 minutes in order to allow those present to get a hot drink.


Judge Zaidan said his chambers were colder than the modern courtroom, which is supposed to have a "state of the art" under-floor heating system.

When court sat again at 12.45pm, Inspector Jim Doyle, who recorded the temperature at Judge Zaidan's request, said the building was below zero at what should have been the warmest part of the day. He said it was warmer on the street outside.

In Kerry, Civil Defence volunteers had to bring two dialysis patients to hospital for treatment after snow and ice left roads impassable.

A panel of eight volunteers have been working tirelessly for the past two days in rural parts of Kerry, one of the counties worst affected by the severe weather conditions.

Civil Defence official Tom Brosnan said Brosna and Knocknagoshel in north Kerry had been among the areas worst affected.

"Some roads are very difficult in patches even for our jeeps and are impassable for most cars," Mr Brosnan said.

A number of schools in the county also remain closed due to the conditions.

Both the gardai and AA urged drivers to slow down, keep their headlights on and, if possible, to travel on gritted main roads due to the risk of ice on untreated surfaces.

In west Cork, a young woman and her 18-month-old child had a narrow escape when their car skidded on black ice and swerved off the road into a shallow estuary. The woman had been driving her child to a creche and the car had to be dragged free of the water by a recovery vehicle.

There were no serious injuries.

Black ice was also reported on roads in Mitchelstown, Inniscarra, Dripsey, Coachford and Charleville.

Met Eireann said that while temperatures are expected to rise by Friday, some areas will suffer heavy rain showers going into the weekend.

Meanwhile, one hill-walker has taken advantage of the snow to promote his local hillwalking club.

Jason O'Sullivan (32) from Glenbeigh, Co Kerry, went for a trek on Seefin naked, despite the freezing conditions.

"I only did it for the laugh but then we put the pictures on our Facebook page and we've got a huge response," Mr O'Sullivan said.

The club's first outing is on Sunday, regardless of the weather, and Mr O'Sullivan assures members that clothes are optional.

Irish Independent

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