herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Homeless concerns as 'lengthy spell' of snow due to hit tomorrow

A dog walker battles through the snow in the mountains near Killakee, Co Dublin, yesterday. Photo: PA
A dog walker battles through the snow in the mountains near Killakee, Co Dublin, yesterday. Photo: PA

Fears have been expressed for the city's homeless as "lengthy spells" of snow are coming to Dublin.

As the five-day "status yellow" warning takes charge, the capital is facing temperatures as low as -3C.

While today will be mainly dry and sunny, tomorrow will start off with heavy rain.

"This will soon turn to sleet and snow," according to Met Eireann forecaster Vincent O'Shea.

"There's a good chance that tomorrow's rain will turn to a lengthy spell of prolonged snow in Dublin, particularly on higher grounds," he said.

Hazardous

"Temperatures on the day will be around 2C, but the night will be a lot colder, reaching lows of -3C.

"Friday and the rest of the weekend will stay cold, but we're not expecting further snow."

However, the Met Eireann forecaster warned of hazardous ice patches on roads throughout the remainder of the week.

Extra beds are being made available for rough sleepers throughout the status yellow warning.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said yesterday it had activated its extreme weather protocol in response to the weather warning.

"A yellow weather warning indicates that the weather is not threatening to the general population, but can pose a risk for people exposed to the weather," a spokesperson said.

"The DRHE is fully aware of the potential impact that this type of weather can have on people sleeping rough."

The DRHE leads the response to ensure homeless persons who are at risk are sheltered for the duration of any extreme weather event.

It said that extra contingency beds are ready for use for the duration of the yellow weather warning, and these beds are additional to more than 250 beds that became available in 2018.

Elsewhere, Housing First teams are continuing to deliver a targeted response to people who are long-term rough sleeping and people who may not be in regular contact with services.

The DRHE said that a contingency emergency response is already in place for any family which may be at risk of sleeping rough at night.

Met Eireann also warned that "significant accumulations" of snow were expected elsewhere in the country this week.

The national forecaster has warned of "frequent" showers of hail, sleet and snow in the south-west, west and north-west, with snowfall accumulations possible.

However, temperatures will start to creep up again at the start of next week.

Until then, motorists have been warned there will be widespread frosts and icy stretches on untreated roads.

AA Roadwatch is urging motorists to keep distance between cars and to use "gentle manoeuvres".

"Remember stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow, and that gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving," a spokesperson said.

The status yellow weather warning will remain in place until 6pm on Saturday.

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