Laois County Council is calling back its snow ploughs and gritters until the storm is over. PICTURE: Tony Keane
With mere hours left until the 4pm public curfew begins in Laois to avoid Status Red snow blizzards, Laois County Council has called home its snow ploughs and gritters, for staff safety reasons.
The decision will mean that Laois roads will quickly become no-go areas as snow continues to mount up.
Director of Services for Transportation Kieran Kehoe says they will be off duty until tomorrow Friday.
"Ploughing / salting operations are ceasing now and will recommence when safe to do – hopefully at some stage tomorrow afternoon – We will assess the situation continually and recommence Ploughing / Salting as soon as it is safe to do so," Mr Kehoe told the Leinster Express.
When back in operation tomorrow, the council will have seven large Ploughs and Grit Lorries, and two small salt only trucks that are for use in towns only.
They will follow the council's regular salting routes, which cover about 20 percent of roads in Laois, focusing on main roads and towns.
Laois County Council held its final Crisis Weather Co-operation Team meeting before today's blizzard, at 11.30am. The meeting was attended by An Garda Siochana, HSE, Midlink Motorway Services and all Laois County Council affected services such as Roads, Water Services, Housing, PPN, Fire Services and Civil Defence.
The advice continues to be to stay inside.
"Met Eireann have issued a current RED status weather warning and in accordance with National advice all persons should remain indoors from 4pm today and STAY SAFE.
"Please be advised if you require the assistance of the emergency services please dial 999. The local number for the Severe Weather Communication Centre is 1890837273. Emergency shelter is available on request.
"Motorway and National routes have been treated and drivers should take extreme care. Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures has made conditions on all other routes extremely hazardous.
"Please note ploughing / salting /gritting operations are ceasing early this afternoon and will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so.
"The Gardai are again urging people to avoid all unnecessary travel and if you have to go out, ensure you use appropriate transport, bring all necessary equipment with you, let someone know where you are going and a time that you are expected back; that includes farmers going out to check on animals.
"Please also check on the elderly and isolated neighbours and friends and ensure they have adequate stocks of food and fuel.
Check www.winterready.ie for advice on how to deal with potential adverse weather conditions affecting homeowners, businesses, farming community etc.