Air pipes

The Big Snow 1982: Frozen pipes at Turlough Hill station endangered the power supply to thousands of homes

At the height of the snowfall, there were considerable fears that the Turlough Hill power station could be seriously compromised, potentially leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power while also having to endure freezing temperatures.

TE reporter Joe Little traveled with the Air Corps to the ESB power plant to investigate the impact of snow and ice on the power plant.

Speaking from a helicopter, Mr Little commented: ‘We are now approaching Turlough Hill Generating Station where the ESB wants this Air Corp helicopter to survey Lake Superior where there appears to be frost around the pipes, which of course would stop the generation station not running if not cleared. The only way to look at these pipes is from this helicopter.

The helicopter also delivered medical supplies and services to rural areas where residents were completely isolated.

Mr Little also spoke to a Dr Lilly who had just been dropped off at an unnamed location in Wicklow to check on a sick, elderly man.

Describing the patient’s condition, Dr Lilly said: ‘He is very poor but I have been seeing him for some time so I was able to bring what I needed to fix it a little better. Hopefully when the weather improves in a few days I can see him again.

The only way to access the patient was by helicopter.

Dr Lilly added: “There is an old lady in the house with him but she is partially disabled from a stroke she had a few years ago so only the two were there. “

The pilot flying the Air Corp helicopter with Mr Little on board described the period as the busiest he had ever known.

“Since the introduction of helicopters in 1963 this is by far the busiest we have had in recent days and I would say we will also be very busy over the next few weeks. This is probably the first time most people even realize that there’s an airline and we’re doing something.