THERE WILL BE an increased risk of flooding along some parts of the River Liffey this evening after the ESB increased the flow of water from Pollaphuca reservoir.
A spokesperson said that over the recent weeks, the effects of heavy rainfall have been largely negated as the water was stored in this reservoir.
However, levels at Pollaphuca have increased to the extent that the discharge has been increased by 40 cubic metres per second.
“The additional discharges and natural inflows from any further rainfall into the middle Liffey will lead to an increased risk of flooding in all areas of the middle Liffey, in particular Kilcullen, Clane, Newbridge, Straffan and Celbridge,” a spokesperson said, adding that they are in communication with local authorities and response agencies.
Dublin is not expected to be affected.
Meanwhile in Clonmel, the Kilganey area of the town has been evacuated due to the water levels on the River Suir.
“Arrangements are currently being made to individually contact all families concerned advising of the need to evacuate,” local TD Mattie McGrath said in a Facebook post.
River levels in the River Suir are currently at 3.802m and based on anticipated rainfall between midnight tonight and noon tomorrow it is predicted that the critical level of 4m for the Kilganey area of Clonmel will be reached. Following a meeting of the Clonmel Flood Response Team a decision has been taken to activate level 3 of the Clonmel Flood Response Plan and proceed with the evacuation of Kilganey.
“Families are being directed to the Clonmel Park Hotel as an initial gathering point to ensure that all families are accounted for.”
Flood waters are continuing to rise in a number of areas across the country.
The National Emergency Task Group confirmed this afternoon that 200 homes have been evacuated so far, while a further 150 homes are at risk and are marooned in because of flooding.
The number of Defence Forces personnel helping flood hit communities is expected to increase significantly from today. To date just over 1,400 members have been deployed.
Last night troops were sent to parts of Cork, Galway, Clare, Kilkenny and Westmeath.
Hundreds of soldiers are currently on standby waiting to respond to any incoming requests from local authorities.
A total of 150 personnel were deployed to help with flood relief efforts and to evacuate and transport residents in flooded areas.
Two soldiers were tasked to Thomastown in Kilkenny to get stranded people to and from their homes. A further eight filled and distributed sandbags in the area.
The NCG (National Coordination Group for Response to Flooding) said the situation in Clonmel was “on a knife-edge”. Eighteen soldiers were deployed between there and Carrick on Suir to deliver sandbags.
There are 10 members of the Limerick Naval Service Reserve deployed with a truck, flat bottomed boat and mechanised pumps to Clonlara Co Clare redirecting water and helping Clare County Council with flood relief. They will man vital pumps for the night.
More troops are in Athlone to give hot food at meal times to residents badly affected by the flooding in the area.
A military ambulance also provided assistance to the National Ambulance Service to take a member of the public from Athlone to Tullamore General Hospital.
The operations come after a status yellow rain warning for parts of Leinster and Munster ended at 9am after a 24-hour period. Thirty-five millimeters of rain fell over the time.
The alert affected Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford.
Met Éireann says the conditions are set to improve later today, but tomorrow will be wet again.
It’s also warning that above average rainfall is forecast for the next seven days.
Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack said it was the wettest December on record with Cork getting up to four times the average rain.
“The first of January was no improvement, we had some very wet and windy weather yesterday.
It is an improving situation at the moment…it is dying away. In fact a big improvement for this afternoon and this evening – we’re actually into a dry spot but only temporarily as another band of heavy rain is approaching from the atlantic.
“This is going to move up across the country tonight so more wet weather.
“So a band of rain tonight and an improvement generally but overall another band of rain on Wednesday.”
A number of roads remain closed throughout the country today. Cork is worst hit with 26 roads affected.
Roads are expected to be busier in the coming days as people return home after the Christmas holidays.
The public are advised to be vigilant when travelling on roads as there may be local flooding and downed trees.
Superintendent Garda John Ferris is urging motorists to use common sense and not to drive through flooded roads:
We just need people to use common sense…if you’re planning on returning home, we would ask that you would contact the local authority website and recognise that particularly tomorrow, there will be heavy rain in the morning,
“If you’re planning to return home tomorrow consult the forecast, consult your local authority and maybe delay your travel plans to the afternoon when road conditions will much improve.”
A full list of the road affected is available on the AA Roadwatch website.
The flow of water through Parteen Weir will remain at 470 cubic metres per second today and it will be reviewed again tomorrow.
ESB says the levels in Lough Derg may reach 2009 levels in the coming days and, as a result, the flow through Parteen Weir may increase to those levels (up to 500 cumecs).
This level of water flow will have increased 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.
ESB added that it is continuing to monitor the situation and is liaising with the relevant County Councils.
People are being advised to boil water for drinking, food preparation, brushing their teeth and making ice until further notice.
The government has received criticism from opposition parties over how it dealt with the recent flooding. Fianna Fáil says it wants a new approach to managing the river shannon in order to prevent future flooding.
While Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams says a single competent authority is required to monitor water levels for rivers, sea and loughs throughout the State on a year round basis.
Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan