Tuesday 15 October 2019

Ireland can expect more heavy snow this winter - Met Éireann's Evelyn Cusack

  • Ireland can expect more heavy snow during the winter - Evelyn Cusack
  • Climate change is having an effect on Irish winters - says forecaster
  • Met Éireann forecaster says more attention should be paid to localised forecasts
Snow being cleared during Storm Emma
Snow being cleared during Storm Emma
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

IRELAND can expect more heavy snow during the winter with climate change having an effect, according to Met Eireann’s Evelyn Cusack.

Ms Cusack was speaking following the launch of the government’s Be Winter Ready initiative today.

Despite saying that adverse weather conditions take place irrespective of climate change, the Met Eireann boss explained that heavier snow could be anticipated in the coming years.

"There is a chance of more snow even though the climate is warming up and that’s because there’s more moisture in the atmosphere," Ms Cusack said.

New Ross firemen helping clear snow from the Convent Court housing estate in New Ross after Storm Emma
New Ross firemen helping clear snow from the Convent Court housing estate in New Ross after Storm Emma

"There’s more evaporation because of the higher sea temperatures and then in winter, instead of rain, it turns to snow. So in fact, snow events could be heavier."

Ms Cusack said that because of the different weather conditions experienced in the past 12 months, she expects the public to take real notice this year.

A snow-covered Cork Airport
A snow-covered Cork Airport

"The message is prepare yourself for all eventualities and listen out for the warnings and the local forecasts as well," she said.

Asked if there was a fatigue around weather warnings due to the sheer volume of them, Ms Cusack said; "there is an idea of warning fatigue or yellow warning fatigue, but we only issue warnings when there are specific issues around".

The forecaster said more attention should be paid to localised forecasts.

As part of the Be Winter Ready initiative, 258,000 tonnes of salt will be made available.

Rural and Community Development Minister Michael Ring added that the uptake in a senior alert alarm scheme has increased by 122pc on last year.

"This community led scheme enables people over 65 to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind," he said.

"There is a steep increase in personal alarms being triggered during the winter months when older people feel particularly vulnerable. Applications for the alarms also peak in winter.

"I’m glad to report that we have seen huge growth in demand for the scheme. Applications for the first half of this year increased by 112pc over the same period in 2017."

A number of government ministers – including Regina Doherty, Shane Ross, Damien English and Mr Ring – spoke following a meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Committee.

Social Protection Minister, Ms Doherty said that financial assistance from her department when it comes to adverse conditions is "demand led".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ms

Doherty pointed to an additional week added to fuel allowance for the coming year and added that her department will "assess our finances" if further assistance is needed.

"Obviously anything that is extended to people has to come out of the current purse of money that we have. If the money is available we certainly won’t leave people wanting," Ms Doherty said.

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