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There's even more rain on the way as crisis meeting held on flooding

Over €430 million is being spent on long-term flood defence work.
Jan 5th 2016, 7:39 AM 13,575 18

A CRISIS MEETING IS being held in Government Buildings today to look at what can be done about the widespread flooding.

Enda Kenny has ordered every department of state to bring forward proposals for flood relief work.

Before that the Taoiseach will hear from all the state agencies with responsibility for the River Shannon this morning, with water levels on Lough Ree now at an all-time high.

It’s understood that the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly will seek approval for a further €10 million in funding on the €8 million already allocated for staff and clean-up costs for local authorities.

It’s estimated that the cost of road works could be at least €40 million.

Flooding continues to be a problem on a number of routes following the recent period of heavy rainfall.

AA Roadwatch says that parts of Munster and Leinster remain the worst affected with many national and regional roads still flooded.

Showers are expected today with some heavy rain forecast for the east.

Yesterday Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Gerald Fleming described the month of December as ‘highly abnormal’ saying:

“When you look at the month of December as a whole, in many of our stations we got more rainfall in December than we would expect to get in the whole winter.

It’s unprecedented in terms of our memory and records – which in some cases go as far back as 100 years.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Doctor Conor Murphy from the Department of Geography in Maynooth University said Ireland needs flood forecasting on a national level:

At the moment we have no formal mechanism for forecasting floods at a large scale. Some individual catchments that might be run by local authorities have smaller scale flood forecasting systems in place but we don’t have anything at a national scale that we could call a flood forecasting system.

He added that flood forecasting would give a longer lead in time of days and possibly weeks in advance of when a flood peak is due to arrive at a certain location.

Murphy added that it’s a “complex task” which involves meteorology and hydrology.

He described how weather would need to be taken over a longer period of up to two weeks and then “fed into a computer system of how catchments works and how the hydrology or movement of water over the land system functions. 

“Predictions are given out in terms of when a flood event might occur and how large that flood event might be and gives important information about what area of a catchment might be flooded in particular so that early warnings can be given.”

Read: Athlone floodwaters at highest level since records began (and there’s more rain coming)>

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Cliodhna Russell

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