News

Snowstorm brings Offaly to standstill

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Snowstorm brings Offaly to standstill thumbnailA family dog makes the most out of the snowy surrounds of Charleville Castle on the outskirts of Tullamore during last week's visit of Storm Emma and the "Beast from the East". Pic credit: Loughnan Hooper, Dotser Web & Marketing.

TULLAMORE and the rest of the county came to a virtual standstill on Thursday and Friday of last week as the Beast from the East and Storm Emma brought sub zero temperatures, icy blizzards, and drifting snow as high as 6ft or over to many rural areas.

By Thursday afternoon the streets of Tullamore were almost deserted save for a few stragglers heading home from work or doing some last minute shopping.

Most of the shops were closed on Thursday save for a few smaller outlets such as Doyle's Gala on William Street and Fays (Elliffe's) at Puttaghaun who had a good supply of bread. This however, quickly disappeared as anxious customers quickly bought it up.

Then, with cupboards full, it was a matter of waiting things out. It was Thursday night that the region witnessed the worst of the weather with most people waking up to a winter wonderland on Friday morning. However, the novelty soon wore off and by Friday evening people had enough of it and wanted things to get back to normal.

The bigger supermarkets opened at around lunchtime on Saturday but with delivery vans unable to travel many of the fresh food shelves were almost empty and any fresh food that was available was snapped up quickly.

It was Monday before things began to return to normal in Tullamore and most people headed back to work following the surprise holiday.

Yesterday (Tuesday, March 6) was almost mild and the only evidence that there had any been any snow in Tullamore town itself were the small patches left on lawns or on the side of roads.

In rural areas the picture was quite different and up until last Monday some parts of the county were still impassable but work was continuing to clear these areas as quickly as possible.

It was an event which saw tremendous co-operation between all the various government and voluntary bodies. Offaly Civil Defence was on hand to ferry medical staff to and from Tullamore hospital while Offaly Fire Service also brought staff to hospital and aided the ambulance service.

The county council ground staff were out and about from the early hours each morning gritting and clearing the roads with snow ploughs and shovelling away snow from hard to reach places. Meanwhile despite all the warnings some people went out in their cars, got stuck and had to be rescued.

The local response to the storm was co-ordinated from Offaly County Council headquarters.

A group comprising of Offaly County Council officials, the Gardai, the HSE and Fire Service, and others co-ordinated the response in the county.

Director of Services with Offaly County Council, Mr Sean Murray said the group met on Tuesday to plan for the event.

''It has posed huge demands on staff, road-staff and the guys at area level were working non-stop for a week,'' he said.

Mr Murray said the national roads network is now 100 per cent clear while regional roads are around 80 per cent clear.

''Local roads are now being priortised and we will continue work on those until they are cleared during the week,'' Mr Murray commented.

''We gave very clear advice not to go out and I am more than glad the vast majority of people obeyed.''

There were no reports of flooding to date though there were some issues in the Rhode area when the supply was interrupted. But Mr Murray said they had water tankers available.

Up to 60 Offaly County Council people were involved in the response which is still ongoing. These include road gritters, fire personnel, overseers, area engineers were involved in the operation.

 

The latest list of roads which are cleared or being worked on include:

 

Tullamore Town

Roads Clear, clean up operations will continue. The Whitehall Bridge is now open.

 

Ballycumber

Clear

Priority 1

M6 Motorway section through Offaly

Clear

N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan

Clear

N52 Tullamore By Pass to Blueball

Clear

N80 Charleville Roundabout  through Killeigh onto County Boundary

Clear

R420 Bachelors Walk through Cloncollig Roundabout to Ballina

Clear

Priority 2

R420 Clara to County Boundary to Moate

Clear

R421 TTC Office to Arden Junction on Bypass

Clear

Priority 3

R436 Clara to Kilbeggan

Clear

Mucklagh Village 

Clear

R421 Ballard Roundabout to Killurin

Clear

R446 (Old N6) Moate  to Horseleap

Clear

L02025 Tullamore to Ballinagar

 

 

 

Tullamore Town

Roads Clear, clean up operations will continue. The Whitehall Bridge is now open.

Ballycumber

Clear

Priority 1

M6 Motorway section through Offaly

Clear

N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan

Clear

N52 Tullamore By Pass to Blueball

Clear

N80 Charleville Roundabout  through Killeigh onto County Boundary

Clear

R420 Bachelors Walk through Cloncollig Roundabout to Ballina

Clear

Priority 2

R420 Clara to County Boundary to Moate

Clear

R421 TTC Office to Arden Junction on Bypass

Clear

Priority 3

R436 Clara to Kilbeggan

Clear

Mucklagh Village 

Clear

R421 Ballard Roundabout to Killurin

Clear

R446 (Old N6) Moate  to Horseleap

Clear

L02025 Tullamore to Ballinagar

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