Wednesday 18 July 2018

Public warned to expect series of avalanches in Wicklow Mountains

Cold weather conditions on the Wicklow Mountains. Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Cold weather conditions on the Wicklow Mountains. Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Ian Begley

The public have been warned to expect a series of avalanches in the Wicklow Mountains.

As the snowfall from Storm Emma continues to wreak havoc in communities on higher grounds, a new and unusual hazard has come into play. 

According to The Dublin-Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, overhanging shelves of snow on the crest of mountains have built up during the storm. 

Spokesperson John Kavanagh told Independent.ie that if these 'snow cornices' break off they can trigger avalanches. 

Cold weather conditions on the Wicklow Mountains Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Cold weather conditions on the Wicklow Mountains Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

"Over the last week, snow has built up on the western and southern side of the Wicklow mountains from the wind blowing from the east. 

"My gut feeling is that there will be avalanches in various locations when these cornices break off, but there will probably be no one around when they do."

Mr Kavanagh added that the rescue team's biggest concern are snow tourists. 

"They do unfortunately cause a lot of problems, but thankfully we don't have many people skiing in isolated locations like these. 

"The avalanches will most likely occur on high mountains with steep slopes like the South Prison in Lugnaquilla.

"We're still dealing with unusual conditions so our advice to anyone heading into the hills is to expect unusual incidents," he said. 

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