Tuesday 20 March 2018

Storm Frank: Met Eireann issues status orange rainfall warning, roads already impassable around the country

* Status orange rainfall warning for Wicklow, Galway, Kerry and Waterford
* Rainfall totals of 40-70 milimetres expected between midday today and tomorrow
* Several Irish roads already impassable
* Walkers warned to stay away from high-risk coastal areas in strong winds

People warned to stay away from coastal areas following serious wind warning from Met Eireann
People warned to stay away from coastal areas following serious wind warning from Met Eireann

Mark O’Regan, Geraldine Gittens and Sarah Jane Murphy

Met Eireann has issued a status orange rainfall warning for Wicklow, Galway, Kerry and Waterford.

Rainfall totals of 40 to 70 milimetres are expected between midday today and tomorrow.

Several Irish roads are now impassable due to flooding caused by the torrential rain.

Waterford county council says severe flooding has occurred on the N72 between Master McGrath and Ballylemon Cross. Drivers are warned to drive with extreme care, it said.

In Tipperary, the N65 Portumna/ Borrisokane Rd is closed on the Portumna side of Carrigahorig. Diversions are in place via Lorrha.

In Cork, the Ballea Rd (R613) is flooded in Carrigaline.

In Roscommon, the Tulsk/ Castleplunket Rd (R367) and the Castlrea/ Castleplunket Rd are both impassable.

In Galway, the N18 Limerick/ Galway Road is closed at Labane.

In Mayo, the Ballinrobe/ Glencorrib Rd (R334) is closed at The Neale and Cross due to flooding. Motorists are advised to use the N84 instead, AA Roadwatch says.

In Kilkenny city, Bleech Road is closed, while in Carlow Leighlin Road is closed at Lanigan's Lough.

In Cavan, the N3 Cavan/ Dublin Road is flooded at Killygarry Church and also at the Dublin Road Roundabout.

Gardai have said that due to flooding in Westmeath, there is a stop-go system on the N4 at Ballinafid around nine miles outside Mullingar.

AA Roadwatch has warned drivers to approach any flooded roads with care.

"If you encounter flooding on the roads, don't attempt to drive through it if you can't tell how deep it is. If you have to drive through standing water, drive through the centre of the road as it tends to be the highest point."

Members of the public have been told to stay away from high-risk coastal areas following a serious wind warning from Met Eireann. 

As weather conditions worsen, there is also increased threat of further serious flooding, in parts of the midlands and the Shannon catchment area.

Meanwhile, locations close to the seafront, such as piers or coastal walks, should be strictly avoided over the next 48 hours, according to the authorities.

The Met Office have issued two wind warnings for today and tomorrow, which apply to most of the country.

Irish Coast Guard Director, Chris Reynolds, said that high waters are breaking over pier walls.

Mr Reynolds said high risk areas should especially be avoided by parents with younger children.

The Coast Guard have today been called out to a number of incidents on the east coast.

Those who got into difficulty included families with toddlers and small children in prams.

A Status Orange wind warning is in place tomorrow, and southerly winds linked to Storm Frank will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km, with gusts of 100 to 120 km per hour.

Counties Kerry, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo,  Clare and Sligo will be hardest hit.

Kerry County Council has asked property owners, particulary those in areas prone to flooding in the past, to take measures to minimise the risk of flooding to properties.

Winds will be strongest along coastal areas on Tuesday evening  and early night.

Speaking today at a press conference held by the National Emergency Coordination Group,  Jim Casey from the Office of Public Works, said that with the exception of in the Upper Shannon Catchment, levels are rising in all other parts of the river.

In the past 48 hours the level has risen by around 6 cm around Athlone, and the lower Shannon Catchment has seen levels rise by up to 3cm.

The levels in Athlone are 2cm higher than they were on 16 December.

In a statement, the ESB said the flow of Parteen Weir is to remain at the increased water rate of 405 cumecs (cubic metres per second.)

"This level of water flow may have associated flooding to land and property in the vicinity of the Shannon downstream of Parteen Weir including the areas of Springfield, Montpelier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon (Annacotty) and the University of Limerick."

The statement also warned other areas between Parteen Weir and Limerick could be at risk of flooding due to local factors. 

Water flow is likely to increase in the coming days, given the high levels of rainfall expected in the Shannon catchment, according to the ESB, which is monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis.

Meanwhile, people living in the midlands, which is part of the Shannon catchment area, are having to cope with ongoing flood damage.

Seven families who had been cut off from the village of Newtowncashel, in Co Longford, for the last three weeks, had to be helped by members of the civil defence this morning.

In Co Westmeath, residents at Golden Island have raised serious concerns about an increase in water levels overnight.

With the prospect of conditions continuing to worsen, a number of householders living along the Shannon near Athlone, have stated the army should be on stand-by to help those in distress.

Read more here:

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News