Action stations for the Beast: Cork prepares for Siberian weather conditions

Action stations for the Beast: Cork prepares for Siberian weather conditions

Ray Geasley of Cork City Council loading up salt at its depot in Ballyvolane, Cork, ready to tackle the cold spell. Picture Dan Linehan

UP to 8 inches of snow is expected to hit Cork this week and elderly people have been advised to leave their heating on 24 hours a day.

The big chill is set to bring its first snow falls tonight, with blizzard-like conditions expected by Thursday and temperatures that feel as low as -13C.

There are currently Status Yellow and Orange warnings in place for the big chill, but Met Éireann has warned parts of the country could reach Status Red.

Over the last 24 hours, supermarket shelves have been cleared out by people stocking up for the Siberian conditions.

Doctors, nurses, gardaí and local authorities in Cork have all issued warnings to keep people safe during the Arctic weather front, known as the Beast from the East.

Minister for Older People, Cork South West TD Jim Daly, said elderly people should not be worried about running up high heating bills over the coming days.

“Shivering behind a single electric bar will be penny wise and pound foolish. When it comes to weather such as this, thrift is not an option,” he said. 

"Pensioners who live at home should keep the heat going for twenty-four hours. Put your health and safety first. Extra spending on fuel is covered by many schemes. If money is a problem, you can take advantage of current welfare schemes."

The ESB has cancelled all scheduled maintenance for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and instead have a full emergency response in place to address any power outages.

David Hughes, Deputy General Secretary of the INMO, said hospital staff were fearing the worst, as icy conditions will inevitably lead to more people attending emergency departments.

“February has already experienced some of the highest levels of overcrowding and, if the weather that is predicted to hit does, it could go off the charts,” Mr Hughes told the Evening Echo.

Severe Weather Assessment Teams at City Hall and County Hall convened yesterday with a second meeting scheduled for this afternoon in anticipation of the deteriorating conditions.

City Hall is urging the public to make preparations for the severe conditions while gritters and road crews have been working overnight to salt public roads and pathways.

All of the city's main traffic routes, accounting for 27% of all roads in the city, have been gritted, with salt available to schools, community groups and other public institutions who contact the local authority.

Owners of vacant properties have been contacted and are asked to shut off water in case of frozen pipes, while homeless service providers have confirmed an extension of services to ensure that nobody is sleeping rough in the coming days.

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