The current spell of bitterly cold weather is set to continue until the end of February or early March, interspersed with the occasional day or two of mild weather,according to predictions issued today by Jonathan Powell from Positive Weather Solutions.
Met Éireann says prolonged outbreaks of snow are likely later today in west Connaught and Munster.
Opposition parties are calling on the Government to declare a national weather emergency and to mobilise the Defence Forces in assisting with road gritting.
Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O'Dea TD
The Fianna Fail Defence Minister, Mr Willie O’Dea says members of the army may be deployed to help as the freezing weather looks set to continue. Large parts of the country are still in the grip of ice and snowy conditions today, as local authorities battle to keep roads clear and keep transport flowing. Before Christmas soldiers were deployed across the country to help residents and businesses during severe flooding in the South and West.
Speaking in Limerick this morning Willie O’Dea said they may be used again in the coming days.
“If you have a situation whereby people, such as farmers or people living in remote areas get isolated, can’t get food, can’t get fodder to cattle; then the army may very well have a role”, he said.
Italy has sent hundreds of soldiers to the streets of Milan to help ease circulation after heavy snowstorms and freezing temperatures closed airports and grounded trains, stranding thousands of commuters and holiday shoppers.
The Government’s Emergency Response Committee is to meet this morning to review the impact of the ongoing cold snap.Officials from the Departments of Transport, the Environment and Health will attend the meeting, as will representatives from the various emergency services.
Meanwhile, motorists are advised to look out for potential skid traps, black ice and frost (particularly on bridges).Black ice is most rampant on very cold days on wet roads, especially at night, on exposed bends, underneath trees and bridges and also on higher ground. Reduce speed as soon as you see a potential skid spot.
Fine Gael North Tipperary Deputy Noel Coonan said the Government must immediately:-
1. Put one body in charge of overseeing the national response.
2. Conduct an immediate audit of all grit supplies. Thousands of tons of low cost grit are readily available here in Ireland.
3. Assess the state of all significant roads, both national and regional, on an ongoing basis.
4. Plan ahead for the next weeks and months.
What To Do If You Find Yourself Skidding
1) Don’t brake fast under any circumstance – if it’s too late and you have already braked, release them immediately, then reapply, quicker but gently.
2) Reduce acceleration but don’t take your foot off the accelerator completely.
3) Use the highest gears possible under the conditions, and as you gently brake, move down in your gears to come to a gradual halt.