Wednesday 23 May 2018

Bread returns and schools reopen: life goes back to normal

Coast Guard warns of localised flooding caused by snow melt

SHOP SHOCK: empty shelves in the SuperValu outlet on Talbot Street
SHOP SHOCK: empty shelves in the SuperValu outlet on Talbot Street
SHOP SHOCK: the queue outside Dunnes in CityWest

Katherine Donnelly, Alan O'Keeffe and Ralph Riegel

Schools and colleges are expected to reopen tomorrow following the loss of three days due to severe weather.

However, it is being left to individual institutions to decide, depending on the circumstances and conditions in their area, according to the Department of Education.

And it appears the recent shortages of bread in shops will not hamper the making of sandwiches for school lunches as supermarkets replenish supplies.

A Department of Education spokesperson, speaking about the resumption of classes, said: "As always, schools must ensure the safety of those in their care and give due consideration to this when making a decision to reopen."

The spokesperson said the position regarding school transport services would be regularly monitored over the weekend.

"It is expected that Bus Eireann will be in a position to advise schools on school transport routes that will not operate on Monday and schools will contact the families involved.

"However, some decisions on individual schools transport routes may still not be confirmed until Monday morning, given changing local conditions.

"Where possible, information on routes not running will also be provided on the website www.buseireann.ie."

Minister for Education Richard Bruton thanked principals, teachers, students and parents who co-operated fully with the safety measures in place over the past few days.

On the return of normal bread supplies to shops, a spokeswoman for Tesco yesterday said she was confident supplies of bread and milk will be continuous over the next few days. "Our delivery vans have been making deliveries into stores since first thing this morning and suppliers have been working closely with us to ensure stock availability is good but it will take us a few days to get back to our normal service level."

She added that Tesco staff were surprised at the huge demand for bread before the snowstorm hit. It increased supplies on its shelves in the run up to the weather event.

Centra confirmed that the vast majority of its stores were open yesterday. And SuperValu also confirmed most stores were open.

Meanwhile, the country's retail and regular businesses were resuming normal operations following the weather emergency.

As the winds from the Russian Arctic began to ease across Ireland, the public were warned that Leinster and Munster counties now face a serious threat of flooding.

Thousands of tonnes of melted snow will combine with high spring tides and leave communities exposed to a serious risk of tidal flooding.

Flooding has already badly hit Dublin and Wicklow with Dun Laoghaire and Clontarf particularly badly hit.

Cork remains on a high alert for tidal flooding until tomorrow - though the city was spared property damage for high tides last Friday and yesterday. Cork towns including Midleton, Youghal, Clonakilty and Bantry will remain on alert for tidal flooding until tomorrow.

Irish Water Safety (IWS) pleaded with the public to avoid streams, rivers, lakes and exposed coastal areas over the coming days amid concerns that thousands of tonnes of snow melt could transform many waterways into raging torrents.

The Irish Coast Guard and RNLI warned that the flooding threat should not be underestimated over the coming days.

"It's been a tough few days for the country and people will want to get out and about as soon as the weather moderates. Many people rescued by RNLI lifeboat crews had no intention of entering the water in the first place," RNLI manager Owen Medland said.

"All too often, people's first instinct when they see someone in trouble in the water is to go in after them. If you see someone in danger, dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard straight away. Look for a ring buoy or something that floats that they can hold on to - and throw it out to them."

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Gerard O'Flynn said snow melt will pose very serious risks along waterways.

"Irish Coast Guard teams around the country have been very busy providing support to the emergency services over the past few days.

"Please heed the warnings and be mindful of the risk posed by a surge in river levels following the expected thaw and be mindful of the risks on exposed coastal areas."

Retailers said the full cost of Storm Emma's disruption could reach tens of millions.

Sunday Independent

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