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President in flood visits as more rain on the way

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DELUGE: A house is flooded in Arklow. Photo: Garry O'Neill

DELUGE: A house is flooded in Arklow. Photo: Garry O'Neill

DELUGE: A house is flooded in Arklow. Photo: Garry O'Neill

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins is to visit residents and traders in Limerick and Cork today in a gesture of solidarity with victims of the worst flooding to strike the region in decades.

The President will be accompanied by Limerick Mayor Kathleen Leddin and Cork Mayor Catherine Clancy as he tours the flood-ravaged residential communities in Limerick and largely commercial areas in Cork city that were devastated by the combination of high tides, torrential rain and gale force winds last week.

 

UNSETTLED

Met Eireann has warned there will be more wet weather to come.

Forecaster Joanna Donnelly said that while today would start off cold and dry with possible icy patches, it would be mostly dry with sunny spells and an easing off of winds before rain moves in from the Atlantic overnight.

"There is significant weather on the cards with more wet and windy weather, but we don't really know what's coming or where because the atmosphere is quite unsettled," Ms Donnelly said.

While there was no colour-coded weather warning issued by Met Eireann last night, local authorities remained on high alert.

Councils are now desperate to fast-track flood relief works which include river clean-ups and dredging in the aftermath of the freak weather over the Christmas period and superstorm Christine.

Councils including those in Cork, Kerry, Galway, Clare, Mayo and Waterford are already facing storm damage bills of an estimated €65m.

A further €200m worth of damage is estimated to have been caused nationwide in December by flooding, wind damage and power cuts to homes, businesses and public facilities.

Councils struggling with major storm repair bills and expanded flood protection programmes have been told the river clean-ups are the responsibility of the landowner involved and not the authority.

 

SWOLLEN

Meanwhile, the Department of the Environment's emergency measures directorate said that while there were no reports of major flooding overnight on Saturday, rivers were still badly swollen.

The current threat of stormy weather from Wednesday onwards still poses a "major risk" of flooding along rivers that are already near capacity.

hnews@herald.ie


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