County to be all white
Wexford County Council management met with representatives of An Garda Siochána on Monday afternoon to discuss preparation for the snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures which Met Eireann has predicted will hit the east coast of Ireland this week.
The national weather forecaster issued a Status Yellow snow and ice warning for Wexford with scattered snow showers due later on Tuesday, leading to accumulations of up to 3cm of snow in some parts by Wednesday morning. There will be widespread frost and icy conditions and temperatures dropping to between minus-two and minus-five degrees.
On Wednesday, it will be extremely cold with further snow and top temperatures of minus one to two degrees with strong easterly winds making it feel much colder. Frost, ice and lying snow will persist throughout the day and there will be further accumulations of snow overnight.
It will be bitterly cold on Thursday with further snow showers and top temperatures of minus one to one degree. A more persistent spell of heavy snow is forecast for Thursday night with strong easterly winds leading to blizzard conditions and drifting in some places.
Predictions as of Monday evening are for further falls of heavy disruptive snow for a time on Friday, mainly in the centre and north of the country but brighter conditons with scattered rain showers should develop over south Leinster in the afternoon.
The council's emergency management team consisting of senior staff from a range of services met with representatives of An Garda Siochána in County Hall on Monday to finalise preparations for dealing with the disruption which is expected to be caused across the region by Storm Emma.
Large stocks of salt and grit have been assembled in the council's operational depot in Enniscorthy for deployment across the county's road network and priority will be given to national and regional routes. Stocks of salt will also be supplied to the main urban areas.
A local authority spokesman said the council has a range of specialist vehicles and equipment at its disposal to deal with severe weather events including salting equipment, snowploughs and four-wheel drive vehicles and these will be augmented as necessary through the use of private contractors.
'Depending on the severity of the situation, the council may also consider engaging with farmers across the county to assist in keeping essential routes clear, similar to the successful arrangement put in place in 2010 when the county experienced large snowfall accumulations and sub-zero temperatures over a prolonged period', he said.
Arrangements have also been put in place to ensure that people known to be homeless or sleeping rough around County Wexford will have access to food and shelter. 'The council will continue to monitor this situation throughout the severe weather period', said the spokesman.
Emergency hostels have made additional spaces available for homeless people while extra bed and breakfast places have also been booked by the council.
The county council strongly advised the public to heed Met Éireann's weather warnings throughout the week and to take all necessary action to ensure their own safety. 'Where possible, people are asked to ensure elderly or vulnerable neighbours have adequate food supplies and heating as the period of extreme weather approaches,' said the spokesman, adding that more information on dealing with snow and freezing conditions is available online at winterready.ie.
Wexford County Council said it will give regular updates during the coming week on local radio and its own twitter page and website. People are also encouraged to register for Mapalerter, the successful public emergency notification system run by the council.