Wednesday 18 October 2017

Teen claims he predicted floods using online data

Luke Kinsella pictured with his mother Bridget, grandfather Michael and brother Jake outside their home in Springfield
Luke Kinsella pictured with his mother Bridget, grandfather Michael and brother Jake outside their home in Springfield

David Raleigh

A teenager claims he predicted five months ago that his home would flood this winter after he examined long-term forecasts online.

Aspiring meteorologist Luke Kinsella (16) from Clonlara, Co Clare, hit out at the Government's plan to set up a long-term weather forecasting system at Met Éireann at a cost of €18m.

He said a three-month forecast gives him all his alerts online - for free.

Read more: Taoiseach to put minister in charge of floods action

"Last August, I looked at the UK Met Office website and a few other weather stations, and it said that from November to December and the first weeks of January there would be very heavy rainfall here, mild temperatures, followed by a few storms," he said.

"I told my mother there was a high chance we would flood. I've been proved right."

After reading the information online, Luke was one of the first to sandbag his home in preparation for the floods.

Read more: The coalition's 12-point plan for floods

The teen, who is meant to be studying for his Leaving Certificate, has missed the last month of school - instead he has been fighting the flood waters around his home.

"I'm more than likely going to repeat sixth year now, I've missed too much," he said.

Bridget said Luke, her eldest, became the "man of the house" after his father Mike died tragically three years ago.

"I won't be going to school tomorrow. I know the army have come here now, but I wouldn't trust anybody else with our home - the water pumps are very temperamental and I know how to handle them," Luke said. "I'm going to protect my home, my mother and my grandparents."

The flood has receded two inches in Clonlara, but with Met Éireann predicting up to 25mm of rainfall for the area, and further swells expected to flow out from the Lower River Shannon, the community are again preparing for the worst. Clare County Council said it was anticipating an increase in water levels as a result of forecast rainfall, and pumps and sandbags are in place.

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