Wednesday 22 October 2014

Temperatures plunge even more as cold snap to last until Easter

Mark O'Regan and Greg Harkin

Published 26/03/2013 | 05:00

A member of the Howth inshore lifeboat crew approaches the two people trapped in an alcove on Howth pier in Dublin

THE cold snap will worsen over the coming days, with temperatures forecast to plunge to -3C.

Met Eireann said temperatures would remain abnormally low for the rest of the week but conditions would be dry. Average temperatures will range around 3C, but a sharp wind chill will make it feel considerably colder.

It also warned that there was a chance of sharp ground frost and icy patches at night, which would make driving conditions very dangerous, especially on higher ground and secondary roads.

Today will be bitterly cold, with night temperatures set to plummet to as low as -3C over the next four days.

The Dublin and Wicklow mountains can also expect a dusting of snow, said Met Eireann forecaster Gerald Fleming.

"Unfortunately, there won't be any change to the cold conditions for the next few days. It will remain between two to six degrees by day but drop sharply to minus two or three at night," he said.

Freak

"There should be a slight improvement as we get towards next weekend but there's still uncertainty over whether we will return to more normal temperatures for this time of year.

"Towards the end of the week it will be more like five to seven degrees by day but still touching freezing at night time."

Freak weather has caused problems across the country over recent days, although we avoided the heavy snowfall that has hit the North and other parts of the UK.

Meanwhile, the company that manufactures the wind turbines at the centre of a safety scare has sent engineers to Ireland to investigate the collapse of one of them, it said last night.

Danish company Vestas says it had shut down eight turbines on a site where a ninth fell down at the weekend, sending wreckage over a wide area.

The engineering firm also revealed the wind speed at the site in a remote part of Co Donegal wasn't at a high enough level for the turbines to be shut down when the incident happened.

"The turbines were still rotating when this incident happened," said Vestas North Europe spokesman Matt Whitby.

The 64-metre high device smashed to the ground in 80kmh winds at the Loughderryduff wind farm near Glenties on Friday evening. The site is owned by North West Wind Limited.

Local TD Pearse Doherty said: "We will have to wait on the outcome of the investigation to see what that produces but it is essential that the distances from turbines to roads and homes is reviewed."

Donegal County Council will discuss the turbine collapse at its monthly meeting in a fortnight's time. In the North, First Minister Peter Robinson called for the Territorial Army to be drafted in to deal with the crisis.

His plea came as hundreds of people remained cut off and without power following the freak snowstorm that has left parts of the region at a standstill for more than four days.

Snow drifts and abandoned vehicles continue to hamper efforts to restore power to 800 homes and businesses cut off when blizzard conditions hit the North.

Two helicopters are assisting in the operation to get engineers to the affected properties, all of which are located in rural and exposed areas.

More than 140,000 customers who lost power when the wintry blast struck the eastern counties of the region last Thursday and Friday have since had supply restored.

Many farmers have been particularly badly hit by the severe weather, suffering livestock fatalities and damaged properties. Snow drifts in some areas are as high as 18 feet.

Irish Independent

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