Homeowners in Galway ‘dodged a bullet’ during Snowstorm Emma – avoiding a repeat of the winters of 2009 and 2010, when hundreds of burst water pipes within properties were reported.
However, an estimated 11,000 householders and businesses across Galway were affected by water restrictions and supply losses as a result of the snow last weekend. Residents in some parts of the county are still without water – which has been blamed on low pressure and higher demand from customers leaving their taps running.
Community spirit was a shining beacon throughout the past week, as volunteers with 4x4s, tractors and JCBs helped the local authorities to re-open hundreds of roads around the county, while the local shop has also come in for high praise for keeping the supply chain open to people stranded in their local towns and villages.
Structurally, there was minimal damage caused to houses and businesses, but the County Council is still assessing damage to road surfaces which have been badly damaged in some places and have seen previously repaired potholes reopen and expand.
Businesses are still counting the cost of Snowstorm Emma – the final figure is expected to run into millions, and according to the Small Firms Association, members are hugely concerned about the additional pressure it has placed on their businesses.
But thankfully, leading climatologist Dr Kieran Hickey believes that extreme weather events of winter cold will probably continue to be the exception rather than the rule in Ireland.
Insurance Loss Assessor David Moggan told the Connacht Tribune that the worst affected by structural damage in Galway were farm buildings.
“We’re not seeing the damage of burst water pipes in homes and businesses which happened in the 2009/10. I think everyone was so well prepared this time around,” said Mr Moggan.
Even homes in parts of South and East Galway – where some people remained ‘snowed in’ until Monday afternoon – escaped relatively unscathed.
However, over the past week, homeowners and businesses have been suffering from water restrictions, and in many cases, no supply at all, because of burst water mains.
Areas affected included Carraroe, Clifden, Roundstone, Inishbofin, Carna/Kilkieran, Roundstone, Williamstown, Kilkerrin/Moylough, Glenamaddy, Mountbellew, Tuam and Athenry.
See full coverage – and readers’ snow photos – in this week’s Connacht Tribune.