Statement from The National Emergency Co-ordination Group for Severe Weather - 11th January 2017
A meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) for Severe Weather was convened today (11th January 2017) in advance of the severe cold weather forecast for the coming days.
The NECG brings together representatives from all Government Departments and all the key state agencies; this includes Met Éireann, Local Authorities, An Garda Síochána, the HSE, the Coastguard, transport operators (road, rail, bus, air), Transport Infrastructure Ireland, ESB, OPW, Civil Defence and the Defence Forces. The NECG is convened by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, which is the Lead Government Department for co-ordinating the response to Severe Weather events. The Severe Weather Assessment Team of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government has been monitoring the evolving weather situation with Met Éireann and decided to convene the NECG to review preparations in advance of the forecasted snow and severe cold.
Met Éireann’s Weather Forecast
Met Éireann forecast that temperatures will begin to drop from this (Wednesday) evening in Ulster and Connaught and snow will fall overnight. By 06:00 hours on Thursday morning it is likely that there will have been significant snowfall in the North-West and West of the country with the possibility of some snowfall in the East and South-West. Met Éireann have issued an ORANGE level warning for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo with a YELLOW warning for Munster, Leinster, Galway and Roscommon.
Temperatures are predicted to remain low until Sunday 15th January. The forecast for next week indicates that Atlantic weather systems may block severe cold fronts from affecting Ireland, however the outlook is uncertain and there is a possibility of a return to low temperatures and snowfall during next week.
Local Level Response
The response to emergencies of all kinds is undertaken by the relevant principal response agencies and emergency services in the area where it occurs. The local response is co-ordinated by a lead agency - local authorities in the case of severe weather. All local authorities are aware of the coming weather situation and have been asked to monitor the impact in their area and activate the response and co-ordination mechanisms in their Severe Weather Plans.
Local authorities in affected area are activating severe weather plans and working with An Garda Síochána, the HSE and other responding agencies. During periods of frost and snow, local authorities treat priority routes with salt and work with public transport operators to ensure routes and access points are kept open. The routes which are treated can be found on local authority websites, as can information on areas where specific difficulties have arisen.
Local authorities will prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable members of the community, especially the homeless, in the days ahead.
The Defence Forces are on standby to provide emergency assistance to the Principal Response Agencies, if required.
The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport is working with public transport operators to ensure that services are maintained in so far as practicable during this period. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) will treat motorways and national routes with salt, undertaking snow clearing operations where necessary. Details of public transport services can be found at www. transport.ie. The TII website provides information on road conditions for motorways and national routes.
Advice for the Public
The priority at both local and national level is public safety and the public are asked to take account of weather conditions in planning activity and to heed safety messages issued by the relevant agencies. Further information and public safety advice can be found at www.winterready.ie . During this period of cold weather the public are asked to:
- Call on elderly relatives and neighbours, and offer to assist them in severe weather.
- Ensure that they have sufficient supplies of food and medications
- Ensure that they have sufficient fuel supplies to maintain adequate heating in their homes