'Take care of your personal safety' - Department of Agriculture issue advice to farmers ahead of Storm Emma

Met Éireann’s warning map
Met Éireann’s warning map

FarmIreland Team

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today participated in a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, convened by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the lead Government Department on Severe Weather Incidents.

Met Éireann has issued a weather advisory indicating that Ireland is facing a very unusual, extremely cold period, with precipitation, affecting the East and South East of the country from Tuesday night, 27 February 2018.

Met Eireann warned of widespread frost and icy conditions. Parts of the country are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle with temperatures set to plummet to -10C.

A snow-ice alert has been issued for Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Meath from Tuesday, with up to 6cm of snow expected to accumulate by Wednesday morning.

Evelyn Cusack of Met Éireann at the National Emergency Co-ordination Centre, Agriculture House, Kildare St, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Evelyn Cusack of Met Éireann at the National Emergency Co-ordination Centre, Agriculture House, Kildare St, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Kilkenny, Longford, Wexford, Offaly, Westmeath, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford are also expected to see scattered snow showers but accumulations are forecast to be lower than parts of Leinster.

As well as the warnings about snow fall, there is also a status yellow low temperature warning for the entire country with lows of -5C expected on Monday night.

Conditions are expected to be similar to that of the 2010 and 1982 cold snaps.

Such conditions will obviously be of particular concern to farmers and those engaged in the agriculture sector.

The Department says the more significant effects concern the provision of water, shelter and feed to livestock, whether housed or being outwintered.

  • It is essential that water pipes in the farmyard and also leading to outside water troughs are properly insulated and prevented from freezing up.

This is particularly important at this time when cows are calving and sheep lambing, giving rise to a heightened demand for water.

File photo of snow in Leitrim Photo: Joe Hunt
File photo of snow in Leitrim Photo: Joe Hunt
  • In the case of sheep flocks it is essential that they are brought to a sheltered area during the worst of this event.

For any animal welfare issues arising from this severe weather event farmers are advised to keep in touch with their Teagasc adviser, their Veterinary Practitioner, or to contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Animal Welfare Helpline:

Call Save: 0761 064408

Or direct line 01 6072379

In order to ensure a safe working environment and also facilitate the movement of essential goods onto and off-farm, the farmyard and its environs should be fully gritted or sanded.

  • All machinery should be correctly stored, maintained properly and where necessary, heating should be provided to ensure that milking equipment and other critical plant does not freeze up.

Finally, all those working on farms are urged to take particular care in relation to their own personal safety and that of family members which should remain paramount during this difficult weather.

  • When herding livestock in remote areas farmers should ensure that somebody knows where they are and that they stay in contact.

The Department will continue to be fully represented at all meetings of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group in the coming days and will provide updated information where necessary.

'Check on older, vulnerable neighbours during adverse weather'

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, has reminded people of the need to look out for older and more vulnerable members of their community during the cold snap which has been forecast for this week. Snow and extreme cold are predicted this week and a Status Yellow weather advisory for the whole country has been extended and is in place until March 3 at 6pm. 

Minister Ring said: “All indications are that we are facing into a period of extreme weather. Older people and those living alone are often most vulnerable to these cold snaps.

“It’s important to look out for older people not only in isolated rural areas but also in built up urban areas.  I urge people throughout the country to check in on your neighbours by phone or, if possible, in person. It is particularly important  to check if people have enough food, fuel and medication.

“Bad weather can make it challenging and indeed risky for older people to get out for provisions so it really helps to do a run to the shops for them.

“I also urge older people that have personalised alarms to ensure they are wearing them at all times so that people can be alerted if anyone gets into trouble.”

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