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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020
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Status orange rainfall warning issued - as Shannon water levels continue rising

Thousands of sandbags have been distributed in the worst-hit areas.

Updated: 3.30pm

10/12/2015 Ballinasloe Floods. The town of Ballina Anthony Madden outside his son's Ballinasloe fuel business. Source: Eamonn Farrell

MET ÉIREANN has issued a status orange rainfall warning for counties Clare, Cork and Kerry, as residents in the Shannon catchment area brace themselves for even worse flooding over the weekend.

Prolonged falls of very heavy rain (30-50mm) are expected to cause further flooding overnight and tomorrow, the forecaster said.

A yellow rainfall warning has also been issued by the weather service. Both come into effect at midnight.

Clare County Council yesterday issued a severe flood warning for the county as rising waters in the lower Shannon approach levels not experienced since November 2009.

In a statement, the local authority said a combination of heavy rainfall, elevated water levels in waterways, saturated ground, spring tides and strong winds were likely to result in localised flooding.

Capture Clare has seen some of the worst flooding. Source: Clarevirtually/Twitter

Weather patterns today will determine whether the 2009 water levels are likely to be exceeded, the council said.

A number of residents in and around the village of the Clare village of Clonlara have evacuated their homes as flooding continues in the county.

Shannon water levels are expected to peak on Monday or Tuesday from Lough Derg to Limerick City.

The flow of water down the river through Parteen Weir, to the south of the lake, will remain unchanged at 375 cubic metres per second today.

The ESB said:

The levels in Lough Derg are monitored on a daily basis and [we] will advise if that flow is likely to increase. With further rain expected over the weekend, the level of water flowing down the Shannon may increase over the next number of days.

Members of the Defence Forces continue to assist the Red Cross, council staff and fire services with flood defence measures in the worst-hit areas along the Shannon.

10/12/2015 Ballinasloe Floods. The town of Ballina Ballinasloe resident Anthony Madden stands outside his family's flooded business. Source: RollingNews.ie

Farms and roads 

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said his department is working closely with agriculture body Teagasc to assess the situation on the ground. Advisers are available to give advice and support to farm families in flooded areas, he said in a statement this morning.

The Road Safety Authority has issued an appeal to drivers to take extra care. Here’s the specific advice for motorists dealing with flood conditions:

  • If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think.
  • Do not underestimate the force and power of water. A mere 15 cm of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 30cm of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 60 cm of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.
  • Many drivers of 4 x 4 vehicles over-estimate their ability to navigate flooded roads too, putting too much faith in their ‘heavy’ vehicles. In reality, most motorists will lose control of their vehicles, including SUVs, in just 15 cm of water.
  • The hidden dangers caused by the erosion of the road by fast moving water is another factor that drivers should consider. Moving water is very powerful and can undermine the integrity of a road. A motorist will be unaware that he or she is driving into a gouged out section of the road because it’s hidden underwater.
  • Always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.

Read: Athlone residents battle floods as raw sewage erupts onto streets

Watch: Aerial videos show the devastation wrought by Storm Desmond

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About the author:

Catherine Healy

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