Wednesday 21 February 2018

After rain and floods, snow and ice bring chaos to north-west

A car drives through a flood where bales of silage were used in an effort to limit the damage to houses in Leitrim Village
A car drives through a flood where bales of silage were used in an effort to limit the damage to houses in Leitrim Village

Greg Harkin

Snow and ice replaced the rain to bring more chaos to the north-west at the weekend.

A number of main roads were impassable for a time as a thick blanket of snow fell over higher parts of Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim on Saturday morning.

At one stage, driving conditions on the Barnesmore Gap in Co Donegal were described by gardaí as "treacherous".

Rural roads in the south and west of Donegal were worst hit by the snow with routes around Ardara and Glenties particularly bad.

The main route between Donegal and Belfast - the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry - saw so much snow, police closed the road for several hours. The decision led to the cancellation of a number of sporting fixtures.

Most of the snow turned to slush by nightfall on Saturday, but this quickly turned to ice again so that, by Sunday morning, driving in Sligo and Donegal was hazardous again.To add to drivers' woes, thick fog made conditions even more treacherous.

County council gritting lorries were deployed on major routes over the weekend.

However, a warmer weather front brought heavy rain which lifted the fog and ice by nightfall last night.

Flood waters were last night continuing to affect many areas of the North West.

In Carrick-on-Shannon, the main N4 through the town had to be closed on Saturday as floodwaters spilled onto the road.

It was partially reopened yesterday with traffic reduced to a single lane and diversions in place around the town.

"The flood levels are not too far off what we saw in 2009," said Leitrim county councillor Sean McGowan.

"We were told that was a one-in-100-years event and here we are in 2015 with the same problem, so it's clearly now something which is going to be more much more prevalent," he said.

"Everyone recognises that the Shannon needs to be dredged and this has to be a priority now for the Government."

In Donegal, county councillors held an emergency meeting in the Stranorlar electoral area to discuss the ongoing flood concerns, particularly along the Finn Valley, where homes and businesses have been destroyed.

"Communities cannot be allowed to fend for themselves every time we have a storm," said independent councillor Frank McBrearty.

"The Government appears to spend years talking about flood defences, but very little has been done."

Irish Independent

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