Below-normal rainfall this week? Yes please…

It looks like we'll get a respite from heavy rain this week - in fact, some parts of the country could even get below normal rainfall levels, say Met Éireann.

Forecaster Harm Luijkx said: "There's no sign of any storm coming this week. It looks like rainfall for this week will be around normal, or in midland areas even below normal, so that's good news."

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins is visiting flood-hit communities in south Galway and Enniscorthy, Co Wexford today.

It comes as efforts continue to find accommodation for around 160 residents of an apartment complex in Athlone who were evacuated last night.

The residents of the Bastion Quay apartments were asked to leave their homes after part of a nearby ESB substation became submerged in flood waters.

Before last night, 260 homes across the country had been evacuated as a result of the flooding.

However, speaking last night during a visit in Clonlara, South East Clare, where families have also been evacuated following the winter storms, Minister Simon Coveney said it was "far too early" to start relocations.

"I don't think that we are looking at that option at the moment," he said. "We need to look at more effective ways at managing (the River Shannon) flow to prevent flooding in the future…Only when we have done that, will anybody concede that we have to start relocating people."

Meanwhile, motorists are being advised that some roads are still impassable and Superintendent John Ferris recommended leaving extra time for journeys.

He said: "We have flood warnings in virtually every county in Ireland today, so we're asking people to be very careful using the roads as they return to work, schools and colleges.

"We’re asking people to recognise that many roads have been flooded for weeks at this stage, and there will be debris and potholes etc on these roads."

Commuters who haven't used their car over the Christmas break are also being warned to expect a dead battery.

Mechanics and tow companies across the country are expecting a deluge of calls this morning, in what is typically one of the busiest days for the sector.

Today's weather looks a little kinder than recently, with sunny spells in most areas. While many places will start dry, showers over Munster will become more widespread during the day and there will be heavy showers over north and east Ulster as well.

Highest temperatures of 6 to 10 degrees are expected, according to Met Éireann. Winds will be variable and light in most parts, though they will be moderate to fresh on southwest and north coasts.

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