Thursday 29 September 2016

Torrential rain, swollen rivers... but Cork avoids major floods

Published 14/12/2015 | 02:30

Council workers Teddy Leahy and Mick McCarthy deliver sandbags in Skibbereen, Co Cork
Council workers Teddy Leahy and Mick McCarthy deliver sandbags in Skibbereen, Co Cork

Cork city and several vulnerable towns in the country narrowly avoided a repeat of damaging floods despite torrential rainfall and swollen rivers.

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Favourable winds, a reduction by the ESB in water discharges from the River Lee, and water management measures helped ensure that high tides did not trigger major flooding in Cork city.

While there was flooding of some county roads, Bandon also avoided a repeat of the severe flooding of December 5 and 6.

Levels of the River Bandon and River Bridewell are now falling.

Minister of State Simon Harris will be in Bandon and Skibbereen today to meet local representatives and communities. He will discuss flood relief measures and other issues arising from the current severe weather.

In the Lee Valley, the ESB was critically able to reduce water discharges from the Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid reservoirs.

Met Éireann stressed that, while further rain was forecast for the next week, no exceptional downpours were expected.

The ESB had increased discharges from 150 cubic metres a second (cumecs) to 180 cubic metres a second over the previous week from its Lee reservoirs. But on Saturday night the ESB reduced water spillage back to the 150 cumecs level.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation and are in communication with the local authorities and response agencies in accordance with our normal operating procedures," ESB official Tom Brown explained.

The River Blackwater also reached flood levels in north Cork. However, new Office of Public Works (OPW) protection schemes in both Fermoy and Mallow were successfully deployed.

The two towns, once amongst the most flood-prone in the country, were successfully protected from damage. Council staff also did not have to close Kent Bridge on the old Dublin-Cork road.

Closure

Heavy water pumping equipment will remain deployed in west Cork as a precautionary measure, with the rainfall sweeping down from the Caha and Carrigfadda mountains being carefully monitored.

Gardaí, Irish Water Safety and the Irish Coast Guard have urged the public to stay away from swollen streams, rivers and lakes, as well as exposed coastal areas.

Swollen streams and spot-flooding forced a number of road closures across Cork over the weekend, including the temporary closure of the N71 Cork to Bantry road outside Skibbereen.

Gardaí ordered the road to be closed between the Cork road roundabout and March road roundabout due to localised flooding after torrential rainfall.

Council engineers also maintained a close watch on the River Ilen. Roads were also flooded outside Dunmanway, Bandon, Kilworth, Killavullen, Macroom, Cloghroe, Mallow and Bantry.

Irish Independent

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