Irish News

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Ireland facing a fortnight flooding due to Atlantic 'Storm Factory'

Three cities under water as five-metre swells forecast

Published 04/02/2014|02:30

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A man takes two young kids to Bullock harbour in south county Dublin during todays storm and high tides despite the recent warnings from the coast guards & emergency services. The young children were knocked over by a wave and were extremely lucky not to have been washed into the harbour.

MET Eireann have issued flood warnings throughout the country as 'every area in Ireland' that experiences heavy rain could fall victim to feet of water.

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Met Eireann has said they are concerned about flooding in Cork, New Ross, Dungarvan - which have already been hit - will see more flooding tonight - as well as locations along the south coast from Wexford right up to Drogheda on the east coast.

A spokesperson for Met Eireann told Independent.ie this morning: "There are yellow and orange weather warnings in effect for wind, but that's not the whole story.

"Rivers are swollen and any amount of rain may increase those water levels. There will be strong gale force and blustery easterly winds with high tides on the south and east coast.

"There are going to be poor conditions overall."

The overnight frost and fog is set to clear by this afternoon and we're due for a brief dry and bright spell before the return of the potential stormy weather tomorrow.

"The weather will be very unsettled and changeable, there's an Atlantic storm headed our way on Friday night," the forecaster added.

"There's potential for another storm late Friday and early Saturday. If that comes in, it's going to be very wet and windy."

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"All parts of the country are due for heavy rain and from that, there could be issues locally. Coastal flooding is also a concern on the east and south coast.

Temperatures are expected to remain between five and eight degrees today.

Cork City Council has warned there is a risk of serious flooding along many low-lying areas in the city and has issued a tidal alert.

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Motorists and pedestrians have been warned to stay away from the city centre tonight unless it is absolutely necessary.

Government ministers are due to discuss measures at a meeting of the Cabinet later today that will help areas hit by flooding and applying for EU relief funds.

It's understood Ireland is facing at least another fortnight of flooding torment thanks to a massive 'storm factory' churning unsettled weather from the Atlantic, experts have warned.

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan blamed climate change for the devastation in the country this week, as he announced a nationwide €10m emergency humanitarian fund.

But Mr Noonan said he believed extra funding would be needed and pledged more money would be taken from the "national budget".

Ireland has been hammered by a combination of heavy rain, strong winds and high tides with more misery to come.

Cold polar air pressing against warn tropical air hundreds of miles off the Irish coast are creating the perfect storm conditions.

The weather system is set to last two weeks, and could last even longer. The next storm brewing at sea will land later today and last into tomorrow (wed), with yet another storm set to follow on Friday and Saturday.

"There's effectively a storm factory over the Atlantic, caused by cold polar air pressing up against warm, tropical air, causing weather systems to form," said Dr Andrew Barrett, a meteorologist at Reading University.

"These have then been steered across the Atlantic by a strong jet stream."

Where gets hit next, depends on the wind direction when the storm lands, said Met Eireann's Gerry Murphy.

"The south coast was worst affected in recent days because the prevailing winds are from the south," he said.

Some experts believe the melting polar ice in the Arctic as a result of global warming is fuelling the increased storms.

Peter O'Donnell from Irish Weather Online warned that many areas will be unable to take more heavy rainfall. "January was 70pc above normal for rainfall and about half a month's worth is likely to fall this week," he warned.

"This relentless heavy rainfall will be overtaxing the ability of smaller streams and urban drainage systems to cop. Eventually there will probably be some persistent flooding problems. These can be even worse near backed up tidal estuaries of rivers near the coastlines," he said. Residents coping with flooding in Limerick heckled Government ministers as they visited the scene of the storm damage in the city.

Mr Noonan and junior minister Brian Hayes were bombarded with jibes by irate residents who were angry at having to pay property tax and water charges this year.

"We're surrounded by water. We have a property tax and no property (to live in)," shouted one resident.

However, Mr Noonan vowed: "We're not going to leave the public in the lurch."

He insisted: "This is a terrible situation that people are in. We have got to make sure the people of this area never ever have to go through this appalling situation."

Mr Noonan added: "I think we all now believe in climate change, and we must make more provision for higher tides. So, the defences that were here – with the new climates that we are having all around the world – are no longer adequate."

Mr Noonan said he believed extra funding would be needed and pledged the money would be taken from the Budget.

Mr Noonan said the Government would allow local authorities to decide on how much funding each would need before a total figure is decided.

 

READ: Lucky escape for little boy almost swept away

READ: Homeowners tells of shock floods: 'I got my wife out and into the boat'

READ: 'Water just gushed in the door, we couldn't even save our dog'

READ: No relief as worst-hit areas to see another 48 hours of rain

WATCH: High tide in Sandycove in Dublin

Caitlin McBride, Greg Harkin and David Raleigh

Irish Independent

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