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Families evacuated in Laois as flooding spreads across the county

People have been urged to stay away from Mountmellick and Clonaslee.

OVER 20 FAMILIES in the Laois town of Mountmellick were evacuated today, as heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in the county.

The families’ homes have not been flooded, but the roads and streets in the area are under water after the Owenass River burst its banks.

The N80 is closed due to flooding, as are many of the adjoining local roads. Ballyfin to Mountmellick Road, Irishtown, Wolfe Tone Street, Manor Lane are all impassible.

Laois County Council said that “extreme caution” should be taken in the Mountmellick area, and traffic should avoid the town were possible. Schools in the area were also closed today.

Caution is also advised in the Clonaslee area, and alternate routes are urged.

Residents of Portarlington are also warned the levels of the River Barrow are very high and are expected to rise further over the next few hours.

“Residents in areas vulnerable to flooding should take sensible precautions,” the council said.

A rainfall warning remains in place in Munster and Leinster till 9pm this evening.

Road crews, civil defence and the fire service are attending scenes all over the county.

All over the country, meanwhile, people are being warned to take care this evening.

Road users are being advised to leave extra time for journeys, slow down and increase braking distance. If you are driving on a stretch of road that is flooded, gardaí are advising people to use alternative routes as flooded roads could be deeper than you think.

“People underestimate the force and power of water,” a statement from the Gardaí said.

“They take unnecessary risks and their vehicle could be swept downstream. A mere half ft of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just a foot of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 ft of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.”

Read: Heading home on the M4? Long delays anticipated due to flooding

Read: Heavy rain to continue throughout the day as emergency services deal with several road collisions

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