Relief for traders as Cork avoids another flood disaster

Cork avoided another major flooding last night. Photo: Alan Healy

Traders in Cork City breathed a sigh of relief last night as the city avoided another flood disaster.

An easing of rainfall, a drop in wind speed, and a lower than predicted storm surge, combined with a high tide 40cm lower than the devastating tidal peak of February 4, resulted in minor flooding on a few quayside streets, including Fr Matthew Quay and Wandesford Quay.

The traffic and parking restrictions which came into effect from 4.30pm were lifted quickly as the flood waters receded around 7.30pm.

Cork Business Association director Claire Nash welcomed the move, which she said helped pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs capitalise on a busy Valentine’s night trade.

“There was a great sense of calm here yesterday,” Ms Nash said. “Traders took the precautions and City Hall moved quickly to reopen the city as soon as they could.”

Several restaurateurs complained after late cancellations from people who were worried the city would be shut down.

Shop owners had spent the day preparing for the worst after the tidal flood alert was issued on Thursday night.

Ahead of high tide at 5.36pm yesterday, they lifted stock and placed sandbags, gel sacks, and flood barriers outside their premises.

Their efforts were boosted when staff from Brooks DIY arrived in the city centre with a lorry load of free sandbags.

Brooks staff in Cork ran the idea past their Dublin-based managing director, Mark Lohan, who gave the initiative the green light.

“We did it just to support local traders,” he said.

“Our staff in Cork were looking at all these sandbags in our depot and we decided they would be better on the streets rather than in our yard.”

They spent about an hour distributing the sandbags and helping traders place them at their premises.

But when high tide came, it resulted in minor ponding in the usual tidal flood risk zones.

The ESB said the level at Inniscarra reservoir was 47.31m OD at 2pm, within its normal operating range.

The company said it does not anticipate any significant releases of water from Inniscarra dam over the next 24 hours but that decision is dependant on rainfall amounts over the course of the day.

Several county towns were also on flood alert with swollen rivers threatening to burst their banks.

There was some concern in Glanmire mid-afternoon when the Glashaboy burst its banks, flooding Jim O’Callaghan Park.

But the water receded quickly and the threat of widespread flooding eased.

There were reports of cars getting stuck in flood waters on the road outside Muskerry Golf Club near Blarney.

A boil water notice remains in place across West Cork, with households in Bantry, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Castletownbere, Schull, Dunmanway, Agha-bullogue, Belooly, Macroom, Minane Bridge, and Ballingeary still affected.

Cork County Council and Irish Water advised people in affected areas to check websites for updates.

Meanwhile, driving snow made for hazardous road conditions throughout Mayo and forced the diversion of three morning flights from Britain into Knock Airport.

Two Flybe flights from Manchester and Birmingham were diverted to Shannon as was an Aer Lingus flight from London Gatwick.

An airport spokesman said snow cover at the airport for a number of hours was the deepest for many years.

Conditions improved in the early afternoon.

The snow caused severe disruption to traffic in the area, including in Westport, where the N5 was blocked for a time due to a lorry skidding on Sheeaune Hill.

More than 1,800 customers in the Achill area of west Mayo had been without power early yesterday due to the storms this week.

By last evening, the number had been reduced to fewer than 300 householders.

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