Homeowners facing another three weeks of pumping water
Published 06/01/2016 | 02:30
Homeowners living in some of the worst-affected flooding blackspots face further misery over the coming weeks - as forecasters warn that heavy rain today could bring fresh problems to the north-west.
The National Coordination Group (NCG) said that people living along the River Shannon would have to continue pumping water from their properties for the next three weeks, and for even longer if heavy rains return.
It came as Met Éireann issued a status yellow warning for the country - with heavy rain expected to fall from noon today until late tonight.
A band of heavy and persistent rain will fall in the south-west, before extending eastwards. As much as 25mm will fall, putting strain on areas still battling flood waters.
Counties under threat of flooding include Monaghan, Cavan, Meath and Louth, while falling temperatures as weather returns to more 'normal' patterns will present an increased risk on the roads.
The Office of Public Works said a "severe flood situation" remained on much of the River Shannon.
"Maintenance, pumping and temporary defences will have to continue for some time," Jim Casey from the OPW said.
It is understood this could continue for the next three weeks, assuming there are no further deluges.
The ESB has reduced flows from the Inniscarra Dam in Cork, and was hoping to drop to 'normal' levels of 75 cubic metres per second by late last night.
However, flows of water through the Parteen Weir will remain at 470 cubic metres per second as water levels in Lough Derg have risen.
The flow has slightly increased from Poulaphouca to 45 cubic metres per second as the reservoir is "quite full" and the ESB said it wanted levels to fall before rain arrived.
This has heightened the risk of localised flooding in parts of Kildare, but the system is coping.
The move comes as levels on the upper Shannon continue to rise, up 2cm, but they are below the peaks of recent weeks.
Levels continue to rise in Carrick-on-Shannon, Athlone, Lough Ree and Banagher, but they have fallen in Limerick City and across other main rivers including the Nore, Slaney, Boyne and Fergus.
Brendan McGrath from the Local Government Management Agency, representing local authorities, said a "significant number of staff" remained out in the field, and that preliminary assessments of damage to roads, bridges and culverts were under way in some counties.
"We see there some stabilisation, mostly in Cork, Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford," he added.
The Defence Forces operated two helicopter flights yesterday in Offaly and Westmeath to assess road conditions.
However, with temperatures expected to fall, the Road Safety Authority warned motorists to be vigilant of black ice.