Updated: 02/03/18 : 06:10:28
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Sligo in new ‘status orange’ for snow, ice today

By Eugene McGloin

SLIGO HAS escaped the worst ravages of ‘beast from the east’ weather event which continues to sweep across Ireland and the UK.

The county was one of a number stood down from ‘red alert’ at 6am this morning, Friday.

However, a new ‘Status Orange’ warning for Sligo was issued at midnight, with immediate effect, and expiring at 6pm Friday.

This new warning, says Met Éireann, is for “scattered heavy snow showers and icy conditions during Friday.”

Twenty four hours earlier the top-status ‘red’ warning had been unexpectedly announced for Sligo at 11pm Wednesday night.

As a result, schools at primary, secondary and Third Level remain closed today, too.

Meanwhile, Church attendances at Lenten Masses on the first day of March were (mostly) measured in dozens rather than hundreds.

Ice Day

Yesterday was also (officially) an “Ice Day,” Met Éireann confirmed last night.

This meant that nowhere in Ireland did Met record a temperature above zero, explained Met meteorologist Evelyn Cusack.

But the big casualty in Sligo’s sudden ‘red alert’ escalation saw some big-name stores stay closed all day yesterday.

Eason kept its door firmly shut on what was World Book Day.

Dunnes Stores didn’t open either either, which brought a bonanza to the town’s trio of other multiples — Aldi, Lidl and Tesco — which all remained open beyond lunchtime.

Bank Queue

Most unusual sight though was the queue outside the Bank of Ireland, instead of inside. However, it’s doors remained shut.

Busiest financial institution across Sligo yesterday was the post office network.

The payment of pensions and social welfare due on Friday was brought forward by the Department of Social Protection.

Meanwhile, ‘Emma won’ was the wry message which greeted potential customers chasing a cuppa in one restaurant.

Twin Town

The Europe-wide extent of current weather chaos was underlined by a picture posted on Facebook by Sligo’s longest serving councillor, Declan Bree.

The photo showed a street in Sligo’s twin town of Crozon in France covered in snow yesterday.

Storm Emma, thankfully, kept her worst claws off Sligo last night but helped to wreak havoc in other parts of the country.

A deterioration in conditions led to the ‘red alert’ being extended for today in  Munster and Leinster, from 3pm to 6pm.

Route Blocked

The ‘red alert’ related more to a snow/ice warning rather than Storm Emma.

Today’s main risk in Sligo town and county is for snow and ice, underlined by the new warning at midnight.

The storm did pack a big punch; in some places it was Gale Force Eight, Met Eireann’s Evelyn Cusack conformed.

Sleet and then some snow fell in Sligo in the early hours of today, Friday.

But other counties were not so lucky, with over a metre of snowfall in Dublin and Wicklow predicted late last night.

Heavy snowfall in the midlands and treacherous road conditions saw the main N4 Sligo to Dublin route blocked at Bunbrosna, RTE’s Ciaran Mullooly noted in reports.

Lorries getting stuck had also presented problems for N4 users earlier in the day at Bunbrosna and Ballinalack, both in Co Westmeath.

Local Buses

No mainline rail services will operate between Sligo and Dublin today.

Local bus services on the S1 route, serving Sligo town, and the S2 route, serving Rosses Point and Strandhill, are also unlikely to operate today.

Both Sligo Rovers and Sligo GAA senior football county team saw their weekend fixtures cancelled yesterday in a weekend wipeout.