Extreme Weather Event Info update (on just about everything), Fri PM 2/March

From: Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Extreme Weather Event Information

Update from NECG at 19.00hrs on Friday 2 March 2018

[…]

• Snow is continuing to fall and will persist overnight and into tomorrow morning.

• A Red Level weather warning remains in place for Meath, Kildare, Dublin, Wexford and Wicklow. The status of the weather warnings will be kept under review.

• This weather event is ongoing and the south east appears to be particularly badly affected at present.

• The key public safety message remains to not undertake travel other than in exceptional circumstances, particularly in moving towards areas where RED Level warnings are in place where conditions continue to deteriorate.

• Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Local Authorities have been working to keep motorways open but this is challenging in areas where snow is still falling as fast, or faster than can be cleared. Keeping the M50 clear where it runs through foothills of Dublin Mountains is particularly challenging.

• Public transport  operators are working today to get limited services back up tomorrow

• Local coordination committees in every county are working to manage the situation locally and to begin restoration of services where possible.

• ESB Networks are dealing with a series of faults on the network and are endeavouring to restore supply in affected areas.

• Issues are emerging with regard to staffing of essential services, particularly in light of transport difficulties, and the HSE, local authorities and transport operators are liaising to ensure necessary arrangements are put in place where possible.

Safety Messages

• No unnecessary travel for safety reasons on our roads.

• Those that must make necessary  journeysexercise caution.

• ESB lines; Never touch fallen cables.

• Freezing slips and falls – wear appropriate clothing and only venture out when it safe to do so.

• Check on Vulnerable neighbours.

• Clear footpaths outside homes and businesses.

Met Eireann will be constantly updating information on their website and on twitter

Department of Transport

Transport Minister Shane Ross has appealed to people to take only ‘the most necessary of journeys’.

[…]

The National Transport Authority has contacted all transport operators. Each operator is currently assessing conditions. They each need to check if there has been any infrastructural damage and they have to check road conditions before they can bring staff to work. They hope to be operational as soon as is safely possible from tomorrow, Saturday 3rd March.

• Roads: Widespread heavy snow and ice around country leading to extremely treacherous driving conditions. Many roads are impassable, and others are passable with extreme difficulty. All motorways are open but not all lanes are open. N11, N25 and N24 are particularly challenging for clearing. Traffic updates can be found on the aa.ie and www.transportforireland.ie.

• Dublin Bus services are not operating today, Friday 2 March. Due to the Red Weather Warning in place until 18.00 for further snow with strong easterly winds combined with poor road conditions, Dublin Bus is not in a position to operate any services today. We apologise for the inconvenience caused, however this decision has been made in the interest of the safety of our customers and employees.

• No Rail services (DART, Intercity, Commuter services)

• No Luas services

• No Bus Éireann services will operate for the remainder of Friday, March 2 due to ongoing severe weather conditions and extremely challenging road conditions. This includes all city and town services, the Expressway intercity network, and Eurolines services to the UK. Bus Eireann anticipate that we may be able to resume a level of services in some parts of the country Saturday morning, dependent on the local road conditions. It is our aim to operate some services on the Expressway inter-city network, and possibly a level of regional city and town services, in less affected areas. However, there will not be any kind of full service schedule tomorrow due to difficult and dangerous road conditions in many parts of the country. We apologise for the inconvenience but safety of staff and customers is paramount.

• Local Link services are severely disrupted for Saturday /Sunday 03/04 March with a significant number of services cancelled. Please refer to your Local Link group for further information about service delivery in your area.

• Dublin Airport: airlines have suspended all flights to and from Dublin Airport until Saturday, March 3. Please contact your airline for the latest information on your flight and monitor Dublin Airport’s social media channels for status updates.

• Cork: Cork Airport is closed and normal operations are not expected to resume until Saturday 3 March.

• Shannon: Remains operational , however have had a significant number of flight cancellations and strongly advise passengers intending to fly from, or travel to, Shannon Airport to contact their relevant airline or check their website before travelling.

• Ferries: Widespread cancellations on Irish Sea and to France.

Transport for Ireland

See here for information from private bus operators and wider transport services. Updates will be also given on twitter

Local Link – Rural Transport Services

All local Link services are cancelled today due to the red weather alert warning.

For more details contact your Local Link Office Local Link and on +353 1 879 8300

Bus Éireann

Bus Éireann website: Bus Eireann and Twitter Bus Eireann Twitter, and RTPI [link-to | http://www.dublinbus.ie/DublinBus-Mobile/RTPI/ | (Real Time Passenger Information) | RTPI app ]

Local and regional media will receive any updates.

1850 836611 8:30am to 6pm

Irish Rail Update 20.30 2nd March

Rail services will remain suspended until 12:00hrs Saturday 3rd March

Iarnród Éireann advises customers that, as a result of worsening weather conditions and the extension of Status Red weather warning on critical rail arteries to 09.00hrs tomorrow, rail services on Intercity, DART and Commuter will remain suspended until 12.00hrs Saturday 3rd March.

The worsening weather conditions were this evening impeding already challenging line clearance works, and the safety of our employees and contractors must be paramount.

We plan to resume services from 12.00hrs on Saturday 3rd March, subject to overnight weather and early morning inspections and will confirm details of service arrangements as soon as possible on Saturday morning.

We apologise to customers for the unavoidable disruption of services.

Check for updates the Irish Rail Website; Irish Rail Twitter with service alerts throughout the day.

Dublin Bus Update 20.30 2nd March

Dublin Bus wishes to advise customers that due to deteriorating weather conditions and the extension of the Status Red Weather Warning until 09.00, Dublin Bus will endeavour to operate services from 12.00 tomorrow, Saturday 3 March. This is dependent on the assessment of road conditions early tomorrow morning by our Chief Inspectors, in conjunction with Local Authorities.

Further to this, services will operate on main roads only, will have reduced frequencies and there will be diversions in place.

We continue to monitor updates from Met Éireann and take advice from the National Emergency Co-ordination Group.

We advise customers to visit our website www.dublinbus.ie and our Twitter account @dublinbusnews for any further updates.

Luas

Keep up to date by checking the Luas Travel Updates and Luas Twitter 6AM TO 1AM 1850 300 604 7AM TO 7PM

Aircoach

latest information available on twitter

Advice for Road Users

See here for advice for Road Users.

Met Eireann

Met Eireann will be constantly updating information on their website and on twitter

Department of Education

UPDATE: Status red has now been issued for all counties with immediate effect. All schools, third level institutions and colleges of further education will be closed tomorrow and Friday

Updates available on twitter

Department of Health

Our hospitals are open.

However, the HSE are advising that due to the evolving severe weather situation, with the entire country now under a red alert, all outpatient appointments and non-urgent surgeries planned for Thursday 1 March and Friday 2 March are cancelled. There is no need for patients to contact their hospital. Hospitals will be in touch over the coming weeks to reschedule their appointments. Patients who are scheduled for urgent surgery over these two days will be contacted by their hospital.

Our emergency services are prioritising urgent cases. Please only use in an emergency.

Follow the HSE on Twitter for updates.

Department of Housing

Local Government Sector

Local authorities reported that outdoor and ploughing and salting crews are active in all areas and have worked continuously overnight and since 5am this morning in very difficult conditions in many locations. The intention is to keep all priority routes open. No major issues were reported.

Homelessness

The local authorities have been working with homeless NGOs through the last 24 hours to ensure that all rough sleepers have shelter available. Sufficient capacity is available for all those requiring these services and they will continue to operate on a 24 hour basis until the spell of cold weather passes.

If you see anyone homeless or sleeping rough, please report it here.

Contact details for Local Authorities

The Twitter handle for the DRHE is Homeless Dublin Twitter Account

Emergency Services

Emergency services are taking a range of steps to help ensure fire and ambulance services cover for citizens as well ensuring the safety of their staff. As much as possible, staff are being facilitated by remaining on premises, revised shift arrangements and transport where possible. The 999/112 service remains in place but the public are being urged to request the attendance of Emergency Services in extreme circumstances only and to be aware of likely extended response times. As always, a risk assessment will be used to prioritise cases arising.

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

The latest updates on DEASP services are available on our website here

Main points:

– All offices are closed – appointments are cancelled and no payments will be affected. This includes all DEASP appointments and events – e.g. medical appointments, JobPath appointments, Career Fairs etc.

– The double fuel allowance payment will be processed next week and will issue w/c 12th March

– Payments that are due tomorrow are available today (please see An Post for Post Office updates) but if people can’t collect their payment today (or indeed tomorrow) these will be held and can be collected next week

– Where there is an urgent need for assistance or advice, there are emergency numbers on our website here .

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

With the current cold weather situation due to worsen this evening, DAFM asks all stakeholders to note the issues below in particular.

Farm Safety

Farm Safety is paramount during bad weather and it is essential that farm safety is prioritised above all else. Appropriate care is essential around the farmyard ensuring concrete areas are gritted or salted. Falls are the biggest threat and take care to avoid. Water for livestock remains a significant issue on farms with pipes for supply freezing, but continued access to water is important at this time when cows are calving and sheep lambing.

Animal Welfare

The DAFM 24 hour animal welfare helpline will continue to be monitored over the coming days. Members of the public with any concerns can contact the DAFM helpline on Call Save: 0761 064408 or 01 6072379.

Service Provision

The Department has been in constant contact with industry facilitating orderly operation and wind-down of processing operations. It is important to recognise that a temporary reduction in such processing will not impact on retail supplies. Fishing vessels in areas most impacted have generally also returned to port at this time.

The Department wishes to emphasise that as farmers deal with the difficulty conditions on farms at present that there is a need for safety first at all times in the period ahead.

Detailed updates with respect to the weather issues pertaining to farmers and other agriculture related stakeholders will be available on the Department website www.agriculture.gov.ie

The Twitter handle for Agriculture is

Department Agriculture Twitter Account

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Update to Early Years and School Age Childcare Sector (2nd March).

The DCYA has attended the National Emergency Committee Group today (Friday 2nd March) and although the red weather warning remains in place in some parts of the country over the coming 24 hours, restrictions on travel have been lifted.

Plans are now progressing to clear roads, re-open schools and other services and get the country moving again. There are variations in storm impact across the country and the NECG is urging everyone to exercise caution as the snow thaws over the weekend.

Re-opening your service

DCYA encourages services to continue to take into account their circumstances locally when making decisions regarding reopening on Monday, in particular with regards to the planned reopening of local schools and resumption of transport services. Information from across all government departments has been collated on http://www.gov.ie

It is important that services maintain contact with parents and communicate with them as early as possible as the country returns to normal over the coming days.

Payment for days affected

Childcare services that were forced to close on Thursday or Friday should download and complete the Force Majeure form from PIP and return it within four weeks to pipdocuments@pobal.ie

DCYA will continue to attend the NECG and will update the sector via PIP and stakeholders as required over the coming days. Thank you for your cooperation during the past few days.

Water

As per the instructions of the NECG, to ensure the health and safety of our workers and the local authority staff working in water services, there will be no staff available to respond to water or wastewater emergencies during the red weather warning called by Met Eireann from 4pm Thursday 1 March.

The Irish Water contact centre will be available during these hours on 1850 278278 for customers to report outages. Calls will be logged for action after the red warning has been lifted. When the warning is lifted calls will be prioritised.

For areas who do lose supply, alternative water supplies will be mobilised after the red warning has lifted.

Information on dealing with frozen pipes is available on water.ie and water supply updates are available here

Customers should conserve water where possible at this time by not running dishwashers or washing machines where possible or taking baths.

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

ESB Networks

ESB Networks is preparing for snow and freezing temperatures forecast this week. Damage may occur to the electricity network and ESB Networks has a full emergency response in place to address any power outages. The electricity network is built, and continually upgraded, to withstand events such as these, but extreme weather, heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures can affect underground and overhead electricity cables and wires.

Snow may also cause trees and branches to fall across or lean onto electricity lines. Please do not approach or touch any fallen wires or the tree or branch that they are touching. Please report these dangerous situations immediately by calling 1850 372 999.

Eirgrid

Eirgrid are not anticipating any significant issues. As increased electricity demand is expected, additional generation capacity has been brought on line and plant on maintenance is being returned to service. Eirgrid’s back-up control centre is being activated. Gale force winds, blizzards or thunderstorms may cause some outages towards the end of the week.

Oil Supplies

The oil companies have indicated that there is sufficient volumes of Kerosene and gas oil, used for home heating to maintain normal supply levels over the cold spell.

Gas

This was the position on gas from Commission of Regulation of Utilities (CRU) as of lunchtime yesterday. According to Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) “there are no current issues with the physical operation or gas supplies at the 3 system entry points. We did raise the Interconnector pressures over the weekend as a precautionary measure and will continue to monitor these over the week. Wind generation is high and forecasted to remain so until Thursday so at this time there is no security of supply concern.”

Communications

Mobile infrastructure outages are monitored by Comreg, who are in constant communication with the network operators. No significant disruption is anticipated to mobile networks during the cold weather. However, power outages may cause disruption to the mobile networks. If any such outages occur, the restoration of power is prioritised.

Department of Defence

The Defence Forces continue to provide assistance following requests from the principal response agencies.

Civil Defence are deployed through their local authorities and will continue to provide assistance in accordance with the procedures for dealing with severe weather as set out in the Framework for Major Emergency Management.

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

In light of this week’s severe weather warnings issued by Met Éireann in relation to Storm Emma, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation – DBEI is, in the first instance, advising businesses and employees to heed the updates from the Government’s National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather.

Start Planning

In addition, the Department has prepared a short checklist for businesses to help them prepare for severe weather events such as the one now forecast. One of the implications an employer may have to consider in the coming days is whether they will need to close their business.

It will not be possible for the Department to issue blanket advice about whether a business should close in the event of a Status Red Warning from Met Éireann, because many organisations are engaged in the delivery of essential services.

Businesses should however prioritise the safety of their workers at all times in the decision-making process and should now be considering how they will communicate with their staff in the coming days about any possible closures, be that by email, text, phone or social media.

Update 20.30, 2nd March

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. and her departmental officials have been in contact with major supermarket chains, and it is their understanding that they are preparing to reopen their stores tomorrow.

Payment of Wages

The Workplace Relations Commission, which is an office of this Department, offers advice to both employers and employees on dealing with a situation whereby an employee cannot attend work due to unforeseen circumstances. It is however important that both parties are aware that in general, there is no statutory entitlement for an employee to be paid if they cannot attend work because of extreme weather.

Any more beneficial arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee, but equally employers are encouraged to take a long-term view of the working relationship.

Department of Justice

International Protection Office

The International Protection Office has cancelled all interviews for Wednesday 28 February, Thursday 1 March and Friday 2 March 2018. Applicants are being notified separately. The IPO will be in touch with applicants concerning new interview dates as soon as possible.

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service

All INIS offices will close at 5pm on 28th February, and will remain closed on Thursday and Friday. All customer appointments at our public offices are cancelled for the remainder of the week and will be rescheduled thereafter. We ask customers to await contact from INIS in relation to the rescheduling of appointments.

Courts Service

Courts and court offices in counties with the Status Red weather warning will not open on Thursday and Friday, 1st and 2nd March 2018. The normal arrangements will apply in relation to urgent matters to be dealt with by the District Court. The Saturday sitting of the District Court in the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin on 3rd March is also cancelled. Full up to date details of all other court closures are available at the Courts website

Irish Prison Service

All visits to prisons have been cancelled for Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd March. More information is available at The Irish Prisons Website

Probation Service

Given the worsening weather situation, all Probation Service offices are closed today and Friday. All offices should reopen as normal on Monday 5 March.

Irish Film Classification Office

During the Red weather alert, the IFCO will be closed.

Office of Public Works Report to NECG, 2nd March

1. OPW continues to closely monitor sea level forecasts and river levelso nationally.

2. Regarding Sea Level Situation

2.1 The OPW High Tide Advisory notice remains in place until Monday due to the period of very high astronomical tides.

2.2 Sea levels are expected to be highest on the South and East Coasts today and tomorrow, with tomorrow’s tides being marginally higher.

2.3 Critical times of high tide tomorrow on the East Coast for Dublin is circa 12.30pm and for South Coast for Cork is circa 6.30am.

2.4 Local authorities are advised to closely monitor sea levels until Monday and be prepared to respond in the event coastal flooding.

2.5 Members of the public should stay away from exposed coastal areas within 2 hours of the time of high water.

3. Regarding river level situation

3.1 River levels nationally have been falling over the past circa 2 weeks, with a few exceptions.

3.2 There is however potential for river levels on smaller, steep or mountainous catchments to rise suddenly depending on the rate of snow melt over the coming days, where heavy falls have occurred (e.g Dublin and Wicklow mountains area).

3.3 Members of the public and Farmers are therefore advised to stay away from rivers and watercourses for the coming days.

3.4 Local authorities are advised to closely monitor river levels (see also: http://www.waterlevel.ie) in their respective areas over the coming days and during the period of snow melt, and be prepared to to respond in the event of flooding, especially in smaller, steep and mountainous catchments that have experienced heavy snow falls.

Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht

In light of the Status Red weather warning for all counties issued by Met Éireann, all National Parks and Nature Reserves throughout the country are now closed to the public.

The safety of both our visitors and staff is of paramount importance to the Department and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Snow may mask normal trail markers and routes leading to more dangerous walking conditions with ice increasing the likelihood of slips, trips and falls. We would encourage people to respect the closure of these sites and avoid making unnecessary journeys to our National Parks and Nature Reserves.

All Departmental offices are also closed.

Updates will continue to be posted on our Twitter profile @DeptAHG.

Departmental staff have also been advised not to present for work on 1 and 2 March. Further emails will issue to staff with updates before the weekend. Staff should check the Department’s website and Twitter account @DeptAHG for updates also.

Our message to staff is also that it may be worthwhile to ensure that your line manager has your private mobile number (where you do not have a work phone) to enable them to contact you directly in the event of an emergency or with an important update.

No Departmental Offices or other locations, including national parks and nature reserves, will be open to the public on these dates.

Department of Foreign Affairs

Further to the advice of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, and in light of the forecasted adverse weather conditions, offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin, Cork and Limerick and all its public services will remain closed on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd March 2018.

In the event of an emergency, members of the public should contact 01 408 2000.

Next Steps

The country is still in the middle of a very severe weather emergency with Red and Orange warnings in place. All services will be working at peak capacity and the public are asked for patience while works to restore services and clear transport routes are completed.

The priority is to restore the motorway and primary road network and to get public transport moving again.

The public can assist this work by not attempting any journeys.

The key public safety messages are:

• Avoid any non-critical travel throughout the country. Many roads including national and regional roads remain impassable and unsafe for driving

• The public should assume all electricity lines to be live and report any fallen lines to ESBNetworks

• Take care while out walking in snow. Enjoy the snow but exercise caution and stay safe.

• Keep away from rivers where levels can rise rapidly as snow begins to melt

• Remember emergency services will take longerto respond to call outs due to the weather conditions.

• Check in with elderly and vulnerable neighbours by phone

We are continuing our work and will meet again at 4.00 pm to review and further co-ordinate our efforts.

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