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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018
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Risk of flooding as snow begins to melt and river levels could 'suddenly' rise

The warning was put out at the latest National Emergency Coordination Group meeting today.

The Royal Canal today.
The Royal Canal today.
Image: Sam Boal

THERE IS A risk of flooding across parts of the country as snow begins to melt, sleet turns to rain and river levels rise, authorities warned today.

At the latest National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) meeting, the NECG said that its message remains the same about not undertaking travel other than in exceptional circumstances. Conditions are deteriorating in certain areas, it said.

Met Éireann forecaster Evelyn Cusack said that snow may turn to sleety rain or even rain until the morning in some areas.

She said forecasters are very concerned that “if it does turn to rain then that will cause the lying snow to melt, and that’s bad news in terms of flooding”.

Jim Casey from the Office of Public Works (OPW) said that the OPW is monitoring closely the sea area forecast and river levels nationally.

He said that the river levels have been falling over the last two weeks, but there is potential now for river levels to suddenly rise, especially on small, steep and mountainous catchments and this sudden rise in river levels could catch people out.

He said that this will manifest itself as snow melts.

Casey said there is the potential for river levels to start suddenly rising, so the OPW is advising all of the public and farmers to stay clear of rivers and water courses.

It is also asking authorities to monitor river levels in areas like the Dublin and Wicklow mountains – and the rest of the country where the bad weather has hit – for sudden rises and so that they are in the position to respond to any flooding.

A high tide advisory is in place until Monday.

Casey said that they are looking at what the situation will be tomorrow. He said that the south coast tides coming into Cork and the south coast of Cork at about 6.30 in the morning pose a threat. He said this “needs to be monitored closely”.

He said that already today there has been some localised flooding in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Wicklow, and there is potential tomorrow for some similar localised coastal flooding. This needs to be monitored, he said.

Casey is advising members of the public to stay away from coastal areas tomorrow for the two hours around the times of high tides.

Read: 34,000 premises without power due to Storm Emma>

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