herald

Saturday 20 December 2014

€2m fund set up as city braced for spell of freezing weather

DUBLIN is bracing itself for weather extremes this winter by putting aside €2m in a special contingency fund.

As Britain prepares for an Arctic chill and five inches of snow this weekend, temperatures here will be cold but nothing like the -10C and bitterly cold winds expected in the UK.

Dublin City Council, however, is determined not to be caught out by freak freezes or torrential floods and has set up the special fund to be able to rush personnel, sandbags, grit and other solutions to any area hit by an exceptional weather event.

Frost

Met Eireann is not expecting any extreme weather over the next few days, although the mercury will drop to -3C in some areas across the country tonight with frost, fog and icy stretches.

Tomorrow will not get any higher than 4C to 7C during a cold, dry day with a few showers moving into the west and spreading eastwards over tomorrow night. More freezing fog is expected tomorrow night, with further rain on Sunday as temperatures lift slightly to bring milder conditions.

Monday will start off dry with rain moving in and by Tuesday the rain will become quite heavy along the west coast with strong winds. The outlook is for unsettled weather to continue into the coming week.

Meanwhile, in the UK the country faces harsh frosts, snow and widespread ice for the weekend and the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning.

Shock new figures reveal that 24,000 people died in the UK from cold last winter with charities for the elderly describing this as a "national disgrace" where people face a choice between keeping warm or buying food.

In addition to the freezing conditions there is a risk of further flooding as ground already saturated cannot take more rain and river levels remain dangerously high. Around 1,800 homes have flooded in the UK since Wednesday.

Here, Dublin city manager John Tierney, outlining the contingency plan, has described how freak weather events in recent years have disrupted the city "restricting mobility, affecting water supply and causing damage to city infrastructure."

Freak flooding in Dublin City in October 2011 caused widespread destruction and chaos.

hnews@herald.ie

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