By Sean Ryan
Residents and businesses across the most flood-prone parts of Galway city have been warned to brace themselves for the highest tides to hit the shore in 18 years next week.
The water is set to rise to 20 feet – or 5.77 metres – on Sunday week, September 27, which is four inches or 12cm higher than the quay wall at the Spanish Arch.
From early next week, the high-tech flood barrier, known as the aquadam, will be dispatched to Fishmarket in preparation for the high tides.
A Council spokesperson said: "Invariably there will be some over-topping but if it’s a day like today and very calm, all will be fine and it will simply soak into the grass.
"However if it’s followed by high winds, low air pressure, and lots of rain, we could have problems. So far the long-range forecast has predicted reasonable weather for the end of next week."
However, with September being an exceptionally cold and wet month for the most part – with a high degree of unpredictability judging by the wealth of incorrect weather forecasts, the council will be taking no chances.
"We have had preparatory meetings with fire and rescue personnel and the Gardaí," he explained.
"We have given local residents and businesses advance notice of the high tides.
"It’s the reason why we have not given permission to the Oyster Festival to have their marquee on Fishmarket, rather to have it moved beside Claddagh Hall in South Park."
Traditionally, the most vulnerable areas include Flood Street, Fishmarket Square, Quay Lane and all areas opposite the Prom.
The new aquadams are pumped with thousands of litres of water and are erected at key flood points around the Spanish Arch.