Saturday 19 January 2019

Sligo's sense of relief

County was placed on red alert but Storm Emma had little impact as the county escapes with just a light covering of snow

Luke McGrath, Scott McGrath and Kayleigh McLoughlin in Cartron Estate. Pic: Donal Hackett
Luke McGrath, Scott McGrath and Kayleigh McLoughlin in Cartron Estate. Pic: Donal Hackett
Many stores in Sligo closed temporarily after the Red Alert was issued nationwide on Friday by Met Eireann
Roockwood Parade in Sligo
Council employee Brian McMorrow ensuring the footpaths were gritted at Stephen Street Car Park last Friday

Paul Deering

There was relief all round in Sligo as storm Emma passed over the county last Thursday night without dumping the snow it did elsewhere.

Main roads were passable throughout the storm and while a nationwide red alert had been issued by Met Eireann for Friday, Sligo escaped with only a few passing snow showers though it remained bitterly cold with night time temperatures as low as -6 and highest temperatures during the day of just -1 to +2 degrees in fresh to strong and gusty east to north-easterly winds.

Those living in high areas experienced more snowfall and it was particularly bad in areas around Tubbercurry, Coolaney, North Sligo and Ballintogher.

Many local roads were described as treacherous. The cold snap began early last week with Siberian air pushing in from the East and later in the week this was replaced by Storm Emma pushing up from the South.

All main roads remained passable however with care though the red warning meant schools were closed on Thursday and Friday with many businesses also following suit.

Many businesses and shops including large retailers like Dunnes and Tesco closed early on Thursday with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar advising the nation for everyone to be at home by 4pm.

The public were urged to stay indoors until 3pm on Friday. Sligo County Council closed its offices on Thursday and Friday but staff required for essential/emergency services reported for duty.

The council said roads crew treated the main routes in the county at 7pm Friday and again at 4am Saturday. Crews were also out gritting over the course of the day.

All main routes in the county were reported as clear with roads and footpaths in the city also cleared.

Sligo University Hospital cancelled routine elective surgery and outpatient appointments for the two days.

All HSE community outpatient and day care service appointments across Sligo were cancelled.

The county waited anxiously to see how ferocious the storm would be but in the end accumulations of snow were small in Sligo and the North West in general and there was little evidence in the city come Saturday of any snow fall.

Buses and train services out of Sligo were also disrupted over the week-end due to challenging conditions particularly in the midlands and east of the country. The full Expressway service was not expected to resumed until today (Tuesday).

Many events fell by the wayside due to the weather. There was very little sporting action with all FAI and GAA fixtures, loally and nationally, being cancelled while the national community games annual congress scheduled for Sligo's Radisson Blu Hotel at the week-end was cancelled. The event, the first time it was due to be held in Sligo since 2002, has been re-booked for Spring 2020.

And, a decision was also taken to postpone the 56th plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA), which was due to take place in the Sligo Park Hotel on Monday and Tuesday this week.

Sligo Champion