Thursday 16 August 2018

'Snow tourists' are hampering Storm Emma clean-up efforts - council warns

  • Many rural areas still suffering after-effects of Storm Emma
  • Work underway to clear drifts and lying snow
  • Water and heating a problem for many
  • Council warn 'snow tourists' are hampering recover efforts
  • New Status Orange warning issued
Picture taken on Monday shows extent of snow near Roundwood, Co Wicklow on Monday
Picture taken on Monday shows extent of snow near Roundwood, Co Wicklow on Monday
Snow this morning in Coollattin Co. Wicklow. Photo: Bill Nolan
Despite only wearing shorts James Butterworth uses cardboard to dig himself out of the Snow drifts on Harbour road, Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Garry O'Neill
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

RURAL communities are still suffering as a result of Storm Emma and heavy snowfall as much of the country returns to normal today.

David Butler, who lives near Lough Dan in Co Wicklow, said his local community of around 80 people are still largely cut off due to the extreme weather and many are without water.

"We've been here since last Wednesday and it still looks bad," he said.

David and his family spent a number of hours digging their own driveway out on Sunday so that they will be able to access the road when it is cleared.

James and Gemma Kavanagh practice their snow angels on Main street, Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Garry O'Neill
James and Gemma Kavanagh practice their snow angels on Main street, Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Garry O'Neill

He said by Monday afternoon there seemed to be a slight improvement in the road near his home but it is still only accessible with a 4x4, other roads in the area are not accessible without a tractor - and some not even then.

"Farmers have lost their water and are collecting melting snow water off shed in buckets," he said.

"Lots are really, really struggling at the moment they are struggling to get feed up to animals.

"There is one family who have cattle who were able to get food to them on Thursday but haven't been able to since," he added.

Snow this morning in Coollattin Co. Wicklow. Photo: Bill Nolan
Snow this morning in Coollattin Co. Wicklow. Photo: Bill Nolan

Other families in the area are without heating as their systems have frozen.

While Roundwood village is quite clear shops in the area are having trouble getting deliveries in so supplies are still restricted.

Despite only wearing shorts James Butterworth uses cardboard to dig himself out of the Snow drifts on Harbour road, Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Garry O'Neill
Despite only wearing shorts James Butterworth uses cardboard to dig himself out of the Snow drifts on Harbour road, Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Garry O'Neill

"The Mountain Rescue managed to get milk to Centra on Sunday but it was sold out within minutes," said David.

He said no machinery has been deployed by the State to try and clear the smaller roads in the area to date.

David said lying snow is still at depths of around 7ft in places, with drifts of more than 10ft compounding the issues locally.

"Nothing has changed here... people do need help," he said.

Wicklow County Council has deployed additional resources along with the army to clear the remaining snow and members of the public have been asked to pitch in where possible.

There has been a "magnificent response" to tackling the after effects of the extreme weather the council said.

However, the council warned that "actions of 'snow tourists' are hampering the clear-up operation".

People have been urged not to make unnecessary journeys.

A boil water notice remains in place in Aughrim/Annacurra and Barndarrig.

Met Éireann have issued a Status Orange snow-ice warning for Leinster due to lying snow and icy conditions, which will remain in place until 10am on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Tipperary the council is also working to ensure that local roads are cleared to ensure access by this evening.

People have also been warned to be on the lookout for flooding.

The Defence Forces said that they have deployed 1566 personnel and 506 vehicles to support the civil authorities during the recent extreme weather.

"33 vehicles and 139 additional personnel were deployed today, supported by our personnel in barracks around the country," read a statement on Monday evening.

"The focus of Defence Forces operations today is to enhance mobility on secondary and tertiary routes in support of county councils, in particular, in counties Wexford, Wicklow and Kildare."

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