Coastal areas are braced for floods as storm nears
Defence forces on standby for relief operations
LOCAL authorities, emergency services, the Defence Forces, businesses and homeowners were preparing yesterday for the risk of high winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding today and tomorrow as a storm developing in the North Atlantic heads towards Ireland.
However, early warning flood alerts have been issued in Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Clare and Galway, while local authorities in the most high-risk areas were distributing sandbags with personnel put on alert.
The Department of the Environment said that the situation was being monitored closely.
A spokesman for the Defence Forces said they have put troops and equipment on standby around the country to assist the civil authorities if requested. "Personnel, vehicles, aircraft, boats, and specialist equipment have all been placed at short notice to deploy for flood relief operations," he said.
Met Eireann said the full impact will probably not be felt until this afternoon, when the west and mid-west will be hit by heavy rain and high winds.
In Galway, the city council said that the biggest threat of flooding would come from today's 5pm high tide, while Dublin City Council said that the flood risk in coastal areas from Clontarf to Sandymount will be highest from midnight tonight to midday tomorrow.
Met Eireann said a storm depression will affect the country tonight and for a time tomorrow, creating a tidal surge and some coastal flooding in unprotected areas. They urged people to check the times of local tides for this period. There will be heavy falls of rain tonight and this could lead to some flooding inland, while windy conditions could lead to some minor structural damage in exposed areas.
Dublin City Council has deployed sandbags in at-risk areas, while car parks on the seafront at Clontarf and Sandymount will be closed until tomorrow evening. Local road closures may also be required. Galway City Council also warned of the possibility of flooding in the city over the next five to six days.
The areas most likely to be affected are Spanish Arch, Spanish Parade, Quay Street and Flood Street. Other areas likely to be prone to flooding this weekend include coastal areas of Cork and Waterford., Met Éireann said.
An estimated €1bn worth of damage was caused by flooding in Ireland in November 2009 and early this year.