AFTER THE DELUGE – COUNTING THE COST
Householders and business people throughout The Avondhu region have been left picking up the pieces and counting the cost following three weeks of the most severe weather conditions experienced in half a century.
Over two weeks of frost and hard packed ice were followed on Sunday last by heavy snowfall throughout the area and problems were compounded on Monday night with the commencement of a period of torrential rain and gale force winds.
Major flooding was reported on the road between Ballyporeen and Clogheen in South Tipperary. In the Mallow area the road to Killavullen was again impassable and in Fermoy many businesses and homes suffered yet another setback after the river Blackwater burst its banks and flooded areas of the town for the second time in two months.
A numbers of homes in Tallow along the west end of the town were also flooded and council workers removed a fallen tree from the river in an effort to reduce the damage caused by the swollen river.
The weekend weather conditions across the region left many people stranded when up to 10cm of snow fell.
Motorists were unable to commute to work as roads remained dangerous in many areas, “While Met Eireann have advised that the thaw will begin towards the end of the week, driving conditions will remain dangerous as black ice will still be prevalent in many shaded areas.
"We would advise motorists not to travel if at all possible, if you have to travel slow down and be aware of the road conditions. Neighbours should check on the elderly living alone in their areas,” a garda spokesperson in Mitchelstown told The Avondhu.
Heavy snowfall in the Ballylanders area has left many roads impassable and the Ballylanders to Kilfinane road was particularly dangerous with reports of ice and deep snow.
“Our biggest problem at the moment is getting water for the cattle,” Jim Finn, a farmer in Glenroe, said.
“The troughs are freezing as fast as we thaw them and with the weather getting above freezing we are seeing a lot of burst pipes that will need to be replaced.”
SIX INCES DEEP
Galbally endured its heaviest snowfall for several decades on Sunday last forcing the cancellation of all local social events. The area had, of course, in common with the rest of the country, been suffering the affects of the recent prolonged spell of sub zero temperatures but Sunday’s snow, which fell for a period of more than twelve hours and resulted in an accumulation six inches deep in many places, considerably exacerbated an already difficult situation as many roads became impassable.
The area was hit by heavy rain and high winds over Monday night and Tuesday when doors were ripped from farm sheds, roof tiles blown off and roads severely damaged.
FALLING ON ICE
Meanwhile, Mallow General Hospital reported an increase in the number of people attending their accident and emergency department as a result of falling on ice and snow.
“There has been an increase in the numbers attending most of the A & E’s around the country and here in Mallow we has seen a large number of people presenting with broken bones,” hospital manager, Tony Gosnall, told The Avondhu.
One patient, who does not wish to be identified, had broken his collar bone while he was walking to his gate. He spoke of his long wait at the A & E, “When I arrived the A & E was packed, the staff were very good and I know it was busy but I was there for almost six hours,” he said.
Labour TD Sean Sherlock told The Avondhu that the bad weather has only highlighted the need for an A & E at Mallow Hospital, “With the rise in injuries due to the frosty conditions, accident and emergency departments across the country have been inundated with people looking for treatment. Mallow A & E is no exception.
"However, had this current cold spell occurred after the reconfiguration planned for Mallow took place things would be a lot different. Rather than a short trip to Mallow for treatment, people from across North Cork would be forced to undertake longer journeys to Cork city.”
“The AA cited the N20 Mallow-Cork road amongst others in the region as ‘treacherous’ and in one case ‘almost impassable’. Some reports indicate that ambulance waiting times were as long as three hours over the Christmas period. This is a worrying trend for those not living within the vicinity of CUH.”
“Patients would be required to undertake a journey into Cork city in difficult conditions and add to the city’s already busy waiting rooms. Such arduous travel is the last thing someone needing urgent medical attention needs. While proponents of this reconfiguration may argue that such cold spells are rare, I would suggest that it is for the rare and unexpected occasions that A & E Departments are needed in the first place. North Cork is no different, ” Deputy Sherlock said.
Cork County Council advised pedestrians to take care on footpaths, as many had not been gritted.
“We are concentrating on gritting the main roads and will continue to do this. With the lack of salt it is not possible to treat all the footpaths in the region so we would advise care when walking,” a spokesperson said.
Then, the flooding Flooding once again became a major concern for many people as torrential rain and gale force winds prompted Cork County Council to issue flood warnings.
“Following a day of high winds, heavy rain and melting snow, many roads throughout the county have suffered storm damage and flooding. In Mallow, Park Road now closed, barrier erected in car park and West Brook Court. Flooding predicted in Bridge Street and will be close to November flood levels. Water supply schemes are running close to full capacity and in some cases the consumption is currently greater than the production and supplies reducing.
"If the situation worsens during the day -the council may have to restrict the supply to some areas overnight. Householders and businesses should check their taps and make sure they are turned off because when the thaw comes the water will flow again and may cause damage by flooding to their house/premises. People should also check their attic to ensure no pipes are leaking.
“If members of the public notice any leaks on the roadside please notify Cork County Council. Check out www.corkcoco.ie for latest situation. Cork County Council’s after hours (5pm to 8 am) and weekend contact number for emergencies is 021 4971411,” a spokesman for Cork County Council told The Avondhu.
RISE IN TEMPERATURES
While the stormy weather had abated somewhat and conditions were dry and bright as this issue went to press, Met Eireann is forecasting that heavy rainfall will return at the weekend with temperatures rising above zero.
However, areas of black ice will remain on many rural roads especially at night and motorists are being advised to drive with extreme caution.
Thursday 14th January 5:52pm