independent

Sunday 22 July 2018

Oh snow!

JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO STEP OUTSIDE AGAIN...

MARIA PEPPER

WEXFORD HAS RECEIVED a Christmas present that nobody wanted, as snow returned tot he streets of t he town and county yesterday (Tuesday).

More than three inches of the white stuff fell in little over an hour, catchings hoppers un wares and sending town centre traders back out t o again clean the thorough fares, in the same manner as t hey di d aft er t he last down fall.

Mean while, council staff were also pressed into action as they began to treat roads throughout the district, and urgent c hecks were made ont he levels of salt and grit available.

Council officials are advising that due to as hort age of salt, only the main national routes will be treated with it, and regional routes will be spread wit h grit only. Salt will also be used more sparingly on those routes than was previously the case, as supplies are dependent on all ocations from the National Roads Authority. HEAVY SNOW brought chaos to Wexford on Tuesday morning after the closure of primary and secondary schools caused a surge in traffic, which led to gridlock on ice-covered routes around the town.

Gardaí reported a dramatic increase in minor car accidents, which contributed to tailbacks, as slow-moving vehicles skidded on hills and corners after three inches of snow fell between 10 a.m. and midday.

Traffic was already heavy as many shoppers arrived in town early to do pre-Christmas shopping in anticipation of a forecasted snowfall on Tuesday night, but it swelled suddenly after local schools decided to close, to allow children to be collected and brought home in case the snowy weather conditions worsened.

A large number of parents came in to Wexford from all outlying routes, and by 11.30 a.m. traffic was at a frozen standstill on the quays and other key roads. Traffic inched along on roads leading in and out of town.

One Wexford parent collecting students from the Loreto secondary school in Spawell Road said it took him an hour and a half to drive to Kerlogue on the outskirts of town, a journey that usually takes about 10 minutes. Another man was an hour and 10 minutes driving from Bride Street to Liam Mellows Park.

Billy O'Shea, principal of the Loreto, said the school was inundated with calls from parents after the snow began to fall and it was decided to allow students switch on their mobile phones to contact their parents.

The result was that a large number of parents arrived to collect their children but the school remained open for the small number of students that remained.

Mr O' Shea said the school was planning to open on Wednesday and if conditions deteriorated in the meantime, a text would be sent to parents informing them of any change. 'Even if we are open, I would say an awful lot of students will stay away,' he said.

The CBS secondary school decided to close at 12.30 p.m. and many other Wexford schools closed around the same time.

Wexford Garda Station confirmed that a large number of minor accidents took place in Wexford on Tuesday morning and said the main reason was that there was no grit on the roads at that stage.

The gridlock was caused by the increase in traffic, cautious drivers taking their time and blockages resulting from accidents.

The spokesman said gardaí were called to the scene of a number of accidents but in other cases people swapped details and sorted out the matter themselves.

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