Saturday 19 January 2019

'Very high waters' predicted for Wexford in Storm Emma aftermath

In Kilbraney, Co. Wexford yesterday even tractors found the going tough. Picture: Patrick Browne
In Kilbraney, Co. Wexford yesterday even tractors found the going tough. Picture: Patrick Browne

Sean Nolan

Residents of parts of Wexford are being warned to expect 'very high waters' as the county bears the brunt of the aftemath of the extreme weather.

Speaking on RTÉ 1 Radio, Wexford native and Minister of State at the Departments of An Taoiseach and Defence with Special Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe said that people living between Bunclody and Enniscorthy can expect 'very high waters' as the snow melts in the mountains and flows down the River Slaney.

Minister Kehoe said of those living in that area: "All retailers and those who have flooded previously should put flood precautions in place. This is a huge risk of flooding in next 24-36 hours.

"So much snow has fell and it will all come down through Enniscorthy.

"I expect very high waters with a high tide at around 12.30pm tomorrow."

Earlier, Sean Hogan, the chair of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group said that the south east, and especially Wexford, remained deeply affected by the weather.

He too warned of flooding in areas while adding that the county was suffering other issues.

ESB say 9,000 customers remain without power, predominantly in south Wexford. ESB expects 6,000 customers in Wexford to be without power overnight.

Irish Water have 13,000 people without supply. Of those, 5,000 are in the Gorey area alone.

According to The Irish Red Cross the severe snowfall that affected Wexford is the worst since the 1947 snowfall. There were particular challenges faced by the National Ambulance Service in Wexford as a result, mainly due to the severe access restrictions in many parts of the county.

The Irish Red Cross has a four-wheel-drive ambulance based in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford and this is one of 20 Irish Red Cross 4x4s which assisted communities and the National Ambulance Service nationwide.

They responded to two emergency calls in the south Wexford area yesterday which were subsequently transported to hospital. One of these was a medical emergency and the other resulted from a fall due to the conditions.

Beyond that, over a period of three days, this ambulance transported a number of patients for dialysis and also undertook the transfer of a patient from Wexford to Waterford University Hospital.

Road conditions, namely snow drifts and access restrictions posed particular challenges for both state and volunteer responders. The Irish Red Cross volunteers faced particular strong challenges in these conditions but completed their volunteer duties in an exemplary manner.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy too warned that while the country was now in "recovery mode" risks of localised flooding remained.

Meanwhile, the Status Orange snow and ice warning for Munster, Leinster, Cavan and Monaghan has been extended until 12 pm tomorrow.

As Met Eireann’s five-day weather warning continues, Ireland can expect more rain, sleet, and even some snow this weekend.

According to the national weather service, freezing temperatures are expected to stay over Ulster, but other areas will rise to between 3 and 6 degrees. Dublin is expected to reach up to 4 or 5 degrees this afternoon and fall to as low as zero tonight.

Outbreaks of rain or sleet are predicted tonight paired with temperatures as low as -2 degrees with moderate winds and some frost.

Tomorrow is predicted to see a gradual rise in temperatures reaching up to 7 degrees, but a few degrees lower on high ground. There will be further outbreaks of rain, particularly in the south and east, creating more snow melt and swapping snow concerns for flood warnings.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned of these expectant floods following last week’s extreme combination , while speaking after today’s first meeting of the National Emergency Coordinating Group.

Sunday night is expected to have cold temperatures paired with clear spells, showers and sleet.  Temperatures will dip to between -2 and 1 degree with some patches of frost and ice as well as potential mist and fog.

Temperatures should warm up on Monday, reaching between 5 and 8 degrees. Dry, bright spells paired with misty periods and scattered showers are also expected, with a spell of rain hitting Leinster in the afternoon.

Later in the evening, rain, frost and icy patches can be expected along with dropping temperatures hitting between -2 to 2 degrees.

Along with the Status Orange warning for other areas, a Status Yellow snow-ice warning for Connacht and Donegal is in place until 12 pm tomorrow.

The Taoiseach said such severe weather warnings are still in place because he didn’t want to “lull people into false sense of security”, saying people should continue to stay off the roads and only travel to work if they are working for an essential service.

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