WINTERY showers have hit the country this morning with temperatures predicted to plummet as low as -4C later in the week, with snowfall in particular regions.
Residents of Ulster as well as North Connacht and Leinster are being warned to be wary of these conditions and are reminded to drive with caution of icy patches on roads.
Although these harsh conditions are to be seen in parts of the country in the next few days, Met Eireann’s head of forecasting Gerald Fleming thankfully stated last week that there is no reason to believe this winter will be ‘particularly severe’, with assurance very harsh winters occur roughly once a decade.
Big freezes, major chills or large floods are not predicted for the upcoming season with Fleming adding: ‘There is nothing in the runes to suggest that it will be anything other than a normal winter, bringing its share of wet and windy weather and some frosty nights.’
Although this prediction is being welcomed by the public and government, cautionary measures are still being taken with the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning launching its third annual Winter Ready campaign earlier this month.
Up to 210,000 tonnes of salt will be in storage ready to use on the Nation’s roads with an additional 30,000 being made available to motorway operators.
Chariman of the Task Force; Justice Minister Alan Shatter announced last week that there will be ‘enough salt to keep every fish and chip shop around the country operating for over a decade.’
The ‘Be Winter Ready’ information campaign has also been set up for the benefit of the public dealing with harsh conditions this year with information from different Government departments: An Garda Siochana, local authorities, transport providers and the Health Service Executive via its website, an information booklet they are circulating as well as Twitter (@emergencyIE). The public are encouraged to join the conversation with #bewinterready.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has stated that although no sever conditions are predicted this year, ‘drawing on the experience of previous years and lessons learned, both central and local government are prepared and ready to respond to incidents of severe weather and to restore normal society’s functioning.’