Tuesday 6 December 2016

Dry weather on the way but flood risk still severe

Paul Melia, Environment Editor

Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30

John Doolan on his tractor, his only means of transport while his home is flooded, in Cush, Pollough, Co Offaly.
John Doolan on his tractor, his only means of transport while his home is flooded, in Cush, Pollough, Co Offaly.

Rain forecast overnight and for the early part of today could bring fresh flooding misery to parts of the country.

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But there are "encouraging signs" that the national flooding crisis, which struck early last month, may be coming to an end.

The National Coordination Group (NCG) said that water levels across many of the country's swollen rivers were beginning to drop, although it cautioned about spot flooding from rainfall overnight.

"We're beginning to see encouraging signs but we're not out of the woods yet, we are concerned about the rain," said NCG Chairman John Barry.

Among the counties facing problems today include Monaghan, Cavan, Louth and Meath, with Wicklow, Leitrim and Longford also on alert.

The warning comes as Met Éireann said that overnight rain would take longer to clear than originally expected, and that a weather warning had been issued - as between 15mm to 25mm of rain was expected to fall on saturated land.

However, drier weather is finally on the way, although temperatures are set to plunge: "We expect cool, dry weather from Thursday for the following five or six days and into next week," head of forecasting Gerald Fleming said. "With that, the temperatures will be falling to subzero on most nights and with wet roads that will bring some challenges."

The flooding has had a severe impact on children returning to school, with some school bus services cancelled and dozens of diversions put in place across Mayo, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath, Offaly, Longford, Cork and Limerick.

In some cases, the Defence Forces and Civil Defence provided transport for children.

The Office of Public Works said the flooding situation remained "severe" across large parts of the country, but that levels were falling across much of the River Shannon. Levels continue to fall in Limerick and on the Inny and Brosna catchments. While falling, they remain high on the Barrow, Nore, Slaney and Boyne.

The ESB said that release of water from the Inniscara Dam in Cork was returning to "normal" levels, and would also fall at the Poulaphouca reservoir in Wicklow. Some 470 cubic metres per second is still being spilled from the Parteen Weir, prompting warnings from Clare County Council that river levels could increase.

Irish Independent

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