The ‘Be Winter-Ready’ guide has been published on the Council website, www.clarecoco.ie, and is part of a Government initiative launched in November.
The guide features flooding advice, tips on how to reduce the risk of water leakages and shortages during freezing weather, advice on clearing snow, safety tips for driving in snow and ice, and information for the farming community, as well as a range of other public health and safety advice.
Ger Dollard, Director of Services and Ennis Town Manager said prolonged heavy rainfall in recent days has underlined the importance of being prepared for flooding and other extreme weather events during the winter season.
In recent years, County Clare has experienced a number of severe weather episodes including flooding in November 2009, and prolonged cold periods in December 2009 and December 2010.
“The winter season brings with it an increased threat of severe weather, including snow, ice, damaging winds and flooding”, stated Mr. Dollard. “The key messages being delivered by the ‘Winter-Ready’ campaign are that people should be prepared, know how to stay safe and know where to find help if needed. Information hosted on our website includes advice for householders, motorists, pedestrians, schools, the farming and business communities on what to do should another big freeze or flooding incident hit. There is also plenty of very useful advice for motorists about how to ensure your vehicle is winter-ready as well as tips for motoring in snow, ice, high winds, floods and fog.”
Mr. Dollard noted that parts of County Clare are particularly prone to flooding and that business owners and householders should familiarise themselves with actions that can be undertaken immediately prior to a flooding to reduce the risk to life and property.
Records from Met Eireann show that the total accumulated rainfall recorded in County Clare from 1 January to 30 November stood at 872.2mm, more than the 845.1mm recorded during the entire of 2010. This December is also expected to see the mean rainfall total for the month being exceeded with further heavy rain forecast for the coming week.
Mr. Dollard said that river levels around Ennis are monitored twice a day and that the Council would continue to monitor water levels throughout the winter period.
“Our experiences from severe flooding in Ennis, and East and north Clare in late 2009 have taught us that being prepared in advance is key to effectively managing flooding when it does occur. As well as reviewing information contained on the Council website, I would urge members of the public to visit www.flooding.ie to familiarise themselves with the range of actions that can be taken in advance of, during and after flooding events”, Mr. Dollard.
Meanwhile, the ‘Be Winter Ready’ guide is accompanied on the Council website by detailed information on the ice treatment regime/routes for the winter season in County Clare.
Senior Engineer Tom Tiernan explained that Clare County Council has secured 3,000 tonnes of rock salt from the National Roads Authority (NRA) to treat the County’s roads during the coming winter.
During the period 27 November to 26 December 2010, temperatures dropped below minus 11c in parts of County Clare with daytime temperatures struggling to rise above freezing during the Christmas period. Water supplies were affected and transport on the County’s road network was inhibited as a result.
Mr. Tiernan commented: “Presently, more than 600 tonnes of salt has been stored at the local authority’s Depot/Maintenance facility at Beechpark. Contract work is underway at the facility to upgrade the storage capacity from 1,200 to 3,000 tonnes. This work is expected to be completed in early 2012. In the meantime, we will be able to avail of the remaining 2,400 tonnes of salt when required.”
Visit www.clarecoco.ie to learn more about the ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign and the ‘Winter maintenance – Salting routes 2011 – 2012’.