Preparing For The Cold Snap

Met Éireann has warned that we can expect some exceptionally cold weather this week. They are predicting that air and ground temperatures will be five to ten degrees below normal with significant wind chill, penetrating severe frosts and disruptive snow showers.

With the first band of snow expected to hit on Tuesday, a Status Yellow warning is already in place until Saturday 3rd March.

I have collected some useful tips from across the web to help you prepare for the worst. Hopefully this will amount to nothing, but there’s no harm in being prepared, right?

Elderly Relatives and Neighbours

Goes without saying, but do check on any elderly relatives and neighbours to make sure they are equipped to deal with any adverse weather that may be ahead. Make sure they have basic supplies, medications, heating fuels and a telephone number they can call if they need assistance.


If things do get a little dicey, make sure you plan your journey and be mindful that the local weather might actually be better that the weather at your intended destination – even if that is only Mullingar! Check the AA Roadwatch website for information about live driving conditions.

  • Wherever you are headed, check the forecast and allow extra time for your journey. Be prepared to delay or even cancel your trip if a more severe weather warning has been issued.
  • Remember that it can take up to ten times longer to stop when it is icy, so allow more room to slow down and stop.
  • Avoid losing control of your vehicle by using the highest gear possible and avoid sudden braking, acceleration and sharp turns.
  • If you are travelling further afield, wear warm clothing and take an emergency pack (food and water, boots, deicer, torch and even a shovel) just in case you caught in snow related tail backs.
  • If you don’t really need to travel – don’t!

Water Supply

Report leaks On public property (footpaths, roads, communal open spaces etc) ASAP to Irish Water on 1850 278 278. This number is available 24/7. Be aware that unattended leaks can lead to water shortages later.

Domestic Supply
If you experience an issue with frozen or burst pipes in your home, please contact a plumber. Unfortunately, there are no plumbers listed on my database so I cannot recommend anyone to you!

The following preventative tips may be of assistance before the cold weather arrives:

  • Know where your stop valve is in case of emergency
  • Wrap a towel around any outside taps
  • Open the attic trap door to allow heat into the attic
  • Leave a light on in the attic
  • Leave your heating on longer than normal
  • Place a piece of insulation (eg. a carpet or mat) over your external stopcock
  • Farmers should carry out regular checks on service pipes to their water troughs

Pet Care

  • Don’t leave your dog or cat outside in freezing temperatures for long
  • Make sure they have a warm place to sleep
  • After a walk in icy conditions, dry your pet off and make sure they keep warm
  • Take extra care when walking your dog in icy conditions as an excited dog might cause you to lose your balance

Other Tips

  • Keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts. You can also place a blanket at the bottom of a door and place sellotape along window edgings to help keep out chills
  • Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes rather than one chunky layer
  • Keep as active as possible
  • Keep your home at the recommended temperature of 18 to 21°C (64 to 70°F). If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep.
  • If you use an electric blanket, check what type it is. Some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not be used throughout the night – and never use an electric blanket and hot water bottle together as you could electrocute yourself.

Further Reading