Call for additional temperature sensors for Inishowen

There have been calls for temperature sensors to be installed at locations in North Inishowen to aid Donegal County Council road gritting decisions during inclement weather.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 5:46 pm
Sheep on the hill near Sliabh Sneacht in Drumfries.

The call was made by Councillor Albert Doherty at this week’s Inishowen Municipal District meeting, at which he said he had received calls relating to black ice on roads a few days before Christmas.

Colr. Doherty said the gritter had not been tasked to grit the roads early that morning and on querying why, he was told the temperature sensor located as Skeog - between Bridgend and Burt - had not detected temperatures low enough for gritting to take place.

The Sinn Fein councillor raised concerns that a sensor in Skeog may not be able to detect low temperatures in North Inishowen.

He said: “On December 21, I received a call at 9.40am in relation to very serious black ice on the Moville road and before 10am, I had a similar call saying the same thing between Clonmany and the North Pole Bar and the Carn road and North Pole Bar. I rang the council official to say the gritter lorries needed to go out. I later learned they did go out, but had not been out earlier that morning. I was told the sensor at Skeog detected that this was not necessary. But, whatever occurred between 6, 7, and 10am, it became necessary.

“I believe Skeog is too far away for being alert to North Inishowen and a sensor needs to be put in place in the Northern part of the peninsula.”

Area Roads Engineer Seamus Hopkins told how he was duty on December 21 and the forecast from Met Eireann stated the temperature would be four degrees, three degrees higher than the council’s gritting policy of one degree or lower.

He told how later that evening, temperatures began to fall in Bundoran and Gweedore, something Met Eireann could not explain.

Mr Hopkins said he made a number of calls across the night and into the early hours of the morning, right across the county to determine temperatures and they weren’t low enough. At 9.30am he received reports of ice at Moville and Ballyliffin and gritters were deployed.

Mr Hopkins told how there had been some fog, which when it dispersed, temperatures fell quickly and was very localised.

He added how there is a ‘little bit of science’ behind gauging temperatures, and ‘it is hard to get it exactly right’ but added how additional sensors would be welcomed, perhaps in areas such as Glentogher and Drumfries.