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Tuesday 25 April 2017

Batten down the hatches

Storm and high tides set to cause flood chaos

Sandbags line the coast road in Clontarf, Dublin, yesterday in anticipation of the stormy weather and high tides due over the weekend. STEVE HUMPHREYS
Sandbags line the coast road in Clontarf, Dublin, yesterday in anticipation of the stormy weather and high tides due over the weekend. STEVE HUMPHREYS

Paul Melia, Shane Hickey, Conor Kane and Ralph Riegel

HOMEOWNERS and businesses are on high alert this weekend as storm-force winds and high tides are expected to cause flooding chaos across the State.

Met Eireann last night issued a severe weather warning for tomorrow and Monday, saying a low-pressure system, coupled with high tides and storm surges, could result in flooding across coastal areas.

Local authorities in counties Dublin, Cork, Wicklow and Galway began distributing tens of thousands of sandbags to residents in at-risk areas, while emergency crews were put on standby.

Dublin City Council, gardai and the HSE are meeting daily this weekend, while Iarnrod Eireann will monitor the DART line for flooding and fallen trees. Met Eireann warned that the danger period would last into Monday night.

"There's bad weather on the way. It will be intense, and Sunday and Monday will see the worst of the winds, which will be up to 100kmh on the west coast," forecaster Vincent O'Shea warned.

"The last week or two have been quite wet, which means the soil and ground is saturated, so we would expect some spot flooding on Sunday and Monday."

The most at-risk areas are Dublin, Cork and Galway. High tide in Dublin is at midnight tomorrow and noon on Monday, and people living in Clontarf and Sandymount have been warned to be especially vigilant.

The ESB is monitoring the flows from its dams on the River Liffey to ensure that the river does not flood.

"The water levels at ESB's Pollaphouca reservoir are low and the discharges into the River Liffey are also low," a spokeswoman said.

"ESB uses its large reservoir at Pollaphouca to store as much as possible of the rainfall, limiting flows from its dams into the Liffey. We will alter flows as required."

Dangers

Galway City Council erected a tidal barrier at the city's Spanish Arch, and warned residents and businesses that the risk could last into next week.

"The Spanish Arch is at risk when you have that combination of high tides and low pressure," a spokesman for the council said.

"Over the weekend, particularly Sunday, we could have problems, so we have put out sandbags.

"Businesses and residents are not unused to the dangers of this happening, so we're as prepared as we can be. Crews will be on call over the weekend."

Traders and residents in Cork were urged to carefully monitor weather alerts with sandbags already prepared for dispersal in low-lying areas of the city centre.

Shoppers and traders were warned to be particularly careful of parking cars overnight tomorrow along quays which are prone to flooding.

High tide is at 6pm tomorrow, and 6.30am on Monday.

Other authorities in Wicklow, Clare, Waterford City, Tipperary, Wexford and Sligo put emergency crews on standby for the weekend and have made sandbags available.

Ferry companies operating out of Rosslare reported no problems so far because of the weather, with Celtic Link, Stena Line and Irish Ferries all saying they expected their ferries to sail on schedule.

Irish Independent

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