Friday 20 April 2018

Blizzard conditions close roads and make driving treacherous

A frosty start to the February National Hunt Sale at Tattersalls in Co Kildare. Photo: Healy Racing
A frosty start to the February National Hunt Sale at Tattersalls in Co Kildare. Photo: Healy Racing

Ralph Riegel and Greg Harkin

Siberian temperatures and heavy snowfalls caused delight for schoolchildren but misery for commuters across most parts of Ireland.

Heavy snowfalls were recorded in the south-west, midwest and north with some roads closed on higher ground. Up to 8cm fell in some areas.

Parts of north Cork suffered their first heavy snowfall of the winter with blizzard-like conditions in Watergrasshill, Fermoy, Mallow and Mitchelstown.

Road conditions were so treacherous in Fermoy that steep hills adjacent to two major secondary schools, Loreto and St Colman's, were closed to morning traffic.

Gardaí reported numerous minor road collisions nationwide due to the Arctic conditions.

AA Roadwatch warned motorists to drive with extreme care due to the further risk of freezing fog.

Black ice was reported on routes near Glenville, Blarney, Kildorrery and Glanworth.

Heavy snow falls were also reported in parts of Limerick and Kerry.

The Conor Pass was subject to so much snow and ice that it was closed by gardaí and Kerry Co Council to motorists until further notice. Diversions were in place last night.

The north west has largely escaped the snow falls predicted by forecasters.

Met Eireann's forecast is for ongoing frost, ice and wintry showers in places. Snow may impact on higher areas overnight but the greatest risk of snow showers will be tomorrow.

It will remain very cold for the rest of the week, with frosty nights but mainly dry conditions with the exception of a risk of sleet and snow showers tomorrow.

Gritting lorries had been dispatched to all the main routes across Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal overnight yesterday. It was stormy at times and passengers aboard a ferry from the mainland Co Donegal village of Burtonport to Arranmore Island were left badly shaken when it was hit by a freak wave.

Community leader Jerry Early, who witnessed the 9am incident, said the ferry's skipper had handled the incident expertly.

"The wave just came out of nowhere and just broke over the back off the boat," said Mr Early.

"As an experienced seaman I knew the boat was never in any danger and the skipper of the Ferry handled the situation superbly."

Irish Independent

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