Storm threat upgrade as floods due
Published 05/01/2014 | 09:32
Forecasters have upgraded the threat from the latest storm to sweep in from the Atlantic over the next 24 hours, with high winds and tides creating a risk of further coastal flooding.
Met Eireann changed the status of the warning from yellow to orange for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford with winds gusting to 80 or 90km/h and worsening t onight.
Gales are expected to reach 100 to 120km/h and will be highest in exposed coastal areas, it said.
Forecasters said the alert would remain in place until midnight tonight and warned that the combination of the wind, high tides and very high seas poses the main risk to coastal areas.
They also warned of a threat of local flooding inland from heavy downpours.
Surf reports and enthusiasts from around the country have been warning of massive swells moving with the storm and estimating waves in some areas could reach anywhere from 35ft to as high as 65ft.
The continued bad weather is expected to hamper clean-up and repair operations including at the tourist and surf resort of Lahinch, Co Clare, which had its promenade destroyed in the last storm. That bill is expected to be as high as five million euro.
Across the country, homeowners and businesses have been counting the cost with the series of storms estimated to have run up insurance claims of 200m euro - and, in turn, hitting premiums.
One of the worst flood-hit areas was Galway where the Spanish Arch area of the city was under several inches of water following high tides and storm, while in Cleggan in the county six cars were swept off the pier at the Inishbofin ferry docks.
The promenade in Salthill also took a battering in the storms while the Liffey burst its banks in the docks area of Dublin.
Elsewhere, water levels on the River Shannon are expected to rise over several days into this week with parts of the Midlands at increased risk of flooding.