Warnings for older people and motorists as temperatures set to plummet to -6C

Warnings for older people and motorists as temperatures set to plummet to -6C

The warning comes as Met Éireann has forecast that temperatures set to drop to -6C in some areas. Picture: Collins Photos

An advocacy group has warned that some older people may be afraid to turn on their heating due to high electricity costs as temperatures are set to plummet this week.

Met Éireann has forecast a very cold snap for the country with temperatures set to drop to as low as -6C in some areas.

The forecaster has predicted it will turn "very cold with widespread frost", and the possibility of mist and fog developing throughout the night.

A weather advisory was issued by Met Éireann that runs until Saturday night, stating "an Arctic airmass" will bring very cold weather and showers of hail, sleet, and snow during the second half of the week

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Age Action head of advocacy Celine Clarke advised older people to apply for the additional payment scheme at their local welfare office and ensure their social welfare is collected in order to offset these costs.

Making sacrifices

Ms Clarke said many elderly people were being forced to make sacrifices in order to cut back on spending, which has led to many pulling away from activities.

"They are minimising their lives because of the rising cost of energy and trying to meet their needs, their basic needs," she said.

Ms Clarke said that “48% of older persons live in inadequate housing, according to the UN standard definition” and so the biggest problem which needs addressing is the lack of insulation in these homes.

“These are draughty homes. They maybe don't have central heating. They are difficult to heat. They rely on fossil fuels.” 

Ms Clarke urged people to stock up on fuel and food supplies and to be careful of slips and falls when out and about.

"Stay warm, seek the supports that are available, and don’t self-disconnect," she said.

Warning to motorists

Meanwhile, motorists have been urged to ensure their vehicle is in the best condition when facing the adverse conditions that are due. 

AA head of communications Paddy Comyn said: “You have to take precautions, drive a little bit more slowly.

"Stop putting boiling water on the car to defrost. Boiling water is too much of a change of temperature — it cracks lots of windscreens, warm water is fine or anti-freeze spray.” 

Offering some wisdom, Mr Comyn said the most important thing to remember is to slow down and remember stopping distances, allowing twice the length you would normally need.

Met Éireann added that the weekend forecast offers “little change” with fog remaining in areas, possibly up to the middle of the week.

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