AS Cork faces into further days of traffic chaos, school closures and other weather-related issues, experts are warning people to take steps to protect their families and property.
People from commuter towns like Kinsale, Midleton and Crosshaven reported massive delays getting to work since the snow started falling on Tuesday, with some people taking up to three hours to get to work this morning. Queues were seen at many major junctions coming into the city.
A spokesperson for Cork City Council confirmed it carried out extended gritting across the city, with 70-80 tonnes of salt spread on 120km of roads. But there were still issues reported in some areas, particularly on hills.
Cork County Council treated all the main roads at 8pm on Tuesday and again 4am on Wednesday but “salt cannot easily fully penetrate packed snow which was the case on many of the hilly routes this morning.”
In many roads into the city tailbacks lasted well beyond the normal rush hour. Cork garda Peter Murphy reminded motorists to be prepared.
“During severe weather, ensure you have adequate fuel in your vehicle before setting out on your journey,” he said. “You may encounter unexpected delays. Have some basic emergency equipment on board and a charged phone.”
“Thread depth and air are very important factors to consider if driving on frosty or icy roads,” Jonathan Hehir, Managing Director of Insuremycars.ie added.
Do not put freezing water or boiling water on your windscreen when trying to de-ice your car.
“Rather than running down your driveway with the kettle in the freezing cold, a top-tip is to put some hot water in a ziplock bag, tie it up and use it as a makeshift ‘hot water cloth’ to rub along your windscreen, windows and side mirrors,” Mr Hehir suggested.
Today is expected to be one of the worst days of the current cold snap, with Met Éireann forecasting very cold and frosty weather overnight, with icy roads and also some lying snow.
w is likely to be heaviest over much of Munster and south Leinster, with some significant accumulations in places,” the forecaster said. “But this band of weather will clear southwards later in the night and the fresh and gusty east to northeast winds will moderate also.”
It predicts overnight lows generally below zero between -2 and -5 C., coldest over snow fields, although it may be warmer along the southern coast.
Cork homes will be vulnerable in such extreme conditions and Mr Hehir suggests some simple steps to limit possible damage. Check the exterior walls for holes, even small holes for cable wires or phone lines can be an entry point for freezing air.
“Purchase a tube of foam insulation and close them up,” he said. “Then, use weather stripping to remedy any cracks around your doors.
“Turn on taps regularly to make sure there’s a flow of water through them and, if you’re going out for an extended period of time, put your heating on a timer if possible.”
Make sure you know where the stopcock that turns off the water is located and make sure it works.
“If a pipe bursts, turn off the water at the stopcock, switch off central heating and any other water heating installations and open all taps to drain the system,” Mr Hehis said. “If you have outdoor plumbing fixtures you should also tend to these to ensure they don’t freeze.”