This year however, Council staff have already participated in their first road treatment operation of the winter. On Halloween Night, the surface temperature dropped low enough for a number of trucks to be dispatched from the local authority’s Depot/Maintenance facility at Beechpark, near Ennis.
According to Council Engineer Tom Tiernan: “Presently, more than 3,000 tonnes of salt has been stored at Beechpark after storage capacity at the facility was upgrade from 1,200 to 3,000 tonnes earlier this year.”
Late November and December 2010 brought prolonged periods of cold weather leading to significant disruption to traffic and travel across County Clare. The mercury level dipped to a seasonal low of minus 11.4c at Shannon Airport. The “Big Freeze” of December 2009 and January 2010 also saw record low temperatures being broken. Winter 2011-12 was much milder than the previous two winters however, with above average temperatures across County Clare for much of the season.
Commenting on the possibility of County Clare experiencing a harsh winter similar to November and December 2010, Mr. Tiernan said: “We have received no indication from Met Éireann that the country is going to experience a prolonged period of cold weather in the near future. However, since Met Éireann does not provide long range forecasts and there is a low confidence factor associated with such forecasts, it is extremely difficult to tell if a sustained period of severe weather is likely to occur later in the year or in early 2013. Either way, the Council is well prepared.”
Meanwhile, Clare County Council is urging members of the public to view its’ advice and information guide, which is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of preparing for severe weather during winter.
The ‘Be Winter-Ready’
Visit www.clarecoco.ie to learn more about the ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign and the ‘Winter maintenance - Salting routes 2012 – 2013’.