Monday 19 March 2018

Crews work desperately to save homes and businesses from more flooding

Shannon is on the brink of bursting again Credit: Jane Last
Shannon is on the brink of bursting again Credit: Jane Last
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

After a week of relentless rain, snow and ice is expected to blanket much of the country tonight, making driving treacherous while crews work desperately to save homes and businesses from more flooding following another deluge of rain today and overnight last night.

Dozens of homes have already been flooded after the River Shannon burst its banks in Athlone on top of “widespread road flooding” nationwide today.

There are fears of more flooding tomorrow in counties Kerry and Clare as swollen rivers overflow their banks due to  “a significant rainfall event” today and last night.

Fears are also growing that some areas downstream from the Parteen Weir in Co Clare, including Limerick city, could also be flooded after Tom Browne of the ESB announced it was forced to increase its discharge rate into the River Shannon from 374 cubic metres per second to 405 cubic metres per second to cope with the sheer deluge of water flowing into Lough Derg. He warned “we anticipate we’ll have to increase that (discharge) further” before the rainfall is expected to peak on Monday.

Jim Casey, head of Hydrology and Coastal Section for the Office of Public Works (OPW) warned that Lough Ree in Co Galway is also under threat of flooding from the Shannon after the water levels rose by three inches in a 24-hour period yesterday.

By midday today, up to 50mms of rain had fallen since Friday in the southwest with between 30 and 40mms falling in west Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Connacht and between 25 and 30mms in the midlands and Dublin region.

On top of what he described as “significant amounts of rain,” plunging temperatures expected to move southward from the north today and overnight  tonight will add to our weather woes in the form of a “nasty snow and ice situation on Saturday night, “ said Met Eireann forecaster Gerald Fleming.

Gardai are urging drivers to slow down and be vigilant to cope with snow and ice-covered roads late tonight and early tomorrow as well as flood-stricken roads. However accumulations of snow will only be a few centimetres and are expected to melt by tomorrow morning.

All local authorities are operating their severe weather plans and gritting main roads and motorways as needed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Protection said those affected by the floods can access a special emergency fund to buy essential food, clothing and other necessities through their local community welfare officers who are handling emergencies on a case-by-case basis.

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