Saturday 21 October 2017

Floods: Residents in Athlone apartment complex evacuate their homes after ESB cuts off supply

Local Councillor Kevin Moran helps with flood defences in the town Athlone, by the river Shannon
Local Councillor Kevin Moran helps with flood defences in the town Athlone, by the river Shannon
Mary Dooner and Elwyn Hoskinn farmers living in Mukanagh, Athlone badly hit by the floods. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Sean Connelly farmer who helps friends through the floods in his tractor in Mukanagh, Athlone. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
George Dooley farmer who helps friends through the floods in his tractor in Mukanagh, Athlone. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Murphy the dog swimming through the floods in ukanagh, Athlone. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
George Dooley with his daughter Carmel Boyce and her children Louise (15), Eimer(6) and Maria (3), as he helps family and friends through the floods in his tractor in Mukanagh, Athlone. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Floods in Mukanagh, Athlone. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Sean Connelly farmer who helps friends through the floods in his tractor in Mukanagh, Athlone. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Mary Dooner farmer living in Mukanagh, Athlone badly hit by the floods. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Cllr. Tom Farrell in Mukanagh, Athlone badly hit by the floods. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Charlie Kelly cleans up in the Lauriston estate, Midleton, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney
DEVASTATION: Seamus Quigley surveys the flood damage to the Concert Hall in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Flooding in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. Photo: Patrick Browne

Geraldine Gittens, Mark O'Regan, and Jane O'Faherty

Residents in 60 apartments in Athlone have been evacuated after the ESB disconnected the electricity supply yesterday due to rising floodwater.

The ESB has confirmed that a decision was made to cut off the electricty supply after pillars connecting an electricity substation to the Bastion Quay complex became submerged in flood water.

The Bastion Quay apartment complex overlooks the River Shannon.

The river in the town has risen 7cm in 48 hours and is now 3cm above 2009 levels.

Meanwhile, some 137 members of the Defence Forces have been deployed to help in the flooding crisis in the past 24hrs.

More than 260 homes around the country have been flooded, while 230 more homes are under threat. Some 130 families have been marooned in their homes by floods.

Some 42 soldiers have been deployed to Carrick-on-Sur and Clonmel to provide lift capacity for evacuation of homes and to fill and distribute sandbags.

Some 38 soldiers have been deployed to the Athlone area, to man pumps along the River Shannon, and to fill and distribute sandbags in Clonbonny.

Thirty more soldiers are filling and distributing sandbags in the Sandrow Lisbawn Industrial Estate in Galway.

While the remaining soldiers have been deployed to Gort, Co Galway; Clonlara, Co Clare; and Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Between Saturday morning and this morning, the counties of Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Galway and Mayo saw around 10 to 20 millimetres of rainfall. 

Other areas of the country had accumulations of five to 10mm, with 10 to 15mm on higher ground.

The immediate high flooding risk has abated in the parts of Tipperary which were evacuated last night.

Residents of Kilganey, who were evacuated from their homes from 9pm yesterday, have been advised that they can return to their homes because normal January weather conditions are expected over the next few days.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, Tipperary County Council said the situation will continue to be closely monitored by the Clonmel Flood Response Team.

The National Emergency Co-Ordination Group today heard that the country remains in a severe flooding situation, with a need for defences to be maintained.

Levels in the Shannon and other rivers remain high. This morning, the OPW said the river Shannon at Athlone had risen 5cm in 48 hours and is now one centimetre above 2009 levels.

Met Eireann has warned that even a 'normal' amount of rainfall could cause further flooding in certain parts of the country.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, forecaster Gerald Fleming said while rainfall levels are set to be significantly lower, the risk of flooding still loomed large.

“Looking at the rest of three days, it looks like we’re heading into a showery, more cool period of weather, when we get some brief respite from these heavy falls of rain that we have experienced over the past month,” he said.

However, Mr Fleming warned that another rain event was expected on Wednesday, which could have the potential to bring another significant fall of rain.

While this week’s rainfall is not expected to be extremely heavy, Mr Fleming added that could cause problems on already saturated ground.

“Unfortunately at the moment, because the water levels are so high everywhere, even what you might call a normal weather front giving 10 to 15mm of rain has the potential to cause some further difficulties,” he said.

After Wednesday, Mr Fleming said the cold and showery conditions will return with night temperatures falling to 1 or 2 degrees Celcius.

“The temperatures are falling back to more typical values for December, so we’ll see a bit more in the form of night frosts,” he added.

Tipperary County Council Crisis Management Team reconvened at 1.30pm today to review the flood situation in the lower River Suir catchment area.

In Carrick on Suir, additional mobile pumps continue to be deployed to manage the water levels on the North Quay, which are currently clear of water but remain closed to traffic.

The high flooding risk has abated in Clonmel, Cahir, Ardfinnan and Kilsheelan, according to the council.

Yesterday morning, Minister for Agriculture and Defence Simon Coveney visited the flooded area of Springfield, Clonlara in Co Clare – where the fight against the floods has entered its fourth week.

He said additional army personnel are now being deployed to Clare, Tipperary, and Athlone, to help operate pumps at night and to help residents get respite and to return to work.

President Michael D Higgins will visit flood affected communities in south Galway and Enniscorthy, Co Wexford today.

Sunday Independent

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