An early warning weather alert system has finally been launched in Cork City.
The text and email alert- based system — developed by the city council — will allow members of the public to subscribe to receive the severe weather alerts issued to local authorities by Met Éireann.
However, the alerts only give an indication of predicted rainfall and cannot predict the exact locations where flooding may occur.
Cllr Emmet O’Halloran (FG), who has been calling for such a system for some time, welcomed the development.
“This will give residents and business owners, particularly in flood prone areas, access to the information,” he said.
“The challenge now is to communicate this to the insurance industry.
“The issuing of warnings as such will reduce the risk of damage to property.
“This should result in lower premiums. I am now calling on the insurance industry to respond to this development.”
Although there has been no official announcement from City Hall, the system is live on the council’s website.
It comes almost two months to the day since a devastating flood struck parts of the city and county.
The flood — triggered by an intense deluge in the early hours of Jun 28 — caused millions of euro worth of damage to homes and businesses in Douglas, Glanmire, Blackpool and Ballyvolane.
In the county, the town of Clonakilty was worst hit.
There was widespread criticism of the authorities afterwards for failing to issue adequate advance flood warnings.
A lot of the criticism was directed at Cork City Council because it faced similar criticism in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 flood disaster which swamped the city centre.
Local authorities received severe weather alerts from Met Éireann before the 2009 flood, and the latest flood, but the warnings were not widely communicated to the public.
In July, city manager Tim Lucey prepared a detailed report on the city’s response to the latest flooding incident, and vowed to introduce some form of early warning weather alert system.
Now, with just a few clicks of a mouse, people can sign up to receive the free text weather alerts on their mobile phones, or email weather alerts, or both.
But Mr Lucey has warned that there are certain shortcomings with the Met Éireann-issued alerts, given their general nature.
“It should be noted while the above [the alert system] will improve the dissemination of weather warnings, it will not in any way result in the council being capable of predicting if and where flooding may occur,” he said in his July report.
“The wider dissemination will be of interest to the public and of information value.
“However, the council will not be in a position to respond to specific queries such as whether or not areas of the city may be flooded, on foot of the current weather alerts we receive.”
* Subscribe to the weather alert system at www.corkcity.ie/smsregister/
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