Kilkenny prepares: Kieran Kelly, assistant engineer; David Dooley, winter maintenance driver; and Seamus Kavanagh, senior engineer, testing the salting machine for Kilkenny County Council today
Kilkenny is tonight bracing for the impact of the ‘Beast from the East’, with freezing conditions and heavy snow forecast in the days ahead.
Kilkenny Met is predicting disruptive snow showers tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday, before more widespread heavy snow sets in later on Thursday and Friday. Army personnel and council staff are on standby, as the council awaits word from the National Emergency Co-ordination Group on a possible Status Red weather warning.
Director of services at Kilkenny County Council Tim Butler has said the county is prepared for the extreme weather event. Sufficient stocks of salt are in place, and the council has four salt-spreading trucks with snow ploughs attached, while another is available from the Defence Forces.
All Priority 1 and 2 - and where, possible, Priority 3 routes - will be gritted in accordance with the Winter Maintenance Plan.
The local authority also has an agreement with the IFA, with stocks of grit placed at strategic locations throughout the county for local farmers to spread.
An advisory weather warning has been sent to the council’s crisis management team, and the principle response authorities – the HSE, Gardai, Defence Forces and Civil Defence. The crisis management team and the principle authorities are due to meet again today. A regional co-ordination meeting will also take place with neighbouring local authorities.
As the weather unfolds a decision will be made in regard to the need for a dedicated council phone contact line.
Kilkenny’s cold weather homeless service has also been implemented. Those at risk should contact Gardaí or the Good Shepherd for assistance.
“We would advise all to keep in check with the up-to-date weather forecast and only make journeys as necessary,” said Mr Butler.
“Check on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours also.”
Keep up to date with weather-information on www.kilkennypeople.ie or the council’s Facebook page and text alert. For advice and tips for the cold weather, visit www.winterready.ie.