EU scientists ‘knew in advance’ Cork would flood

KYRLS Quay in Cork suffered its worst flooding in almost a year last night as it emerged that EU scientists knew Ireland would suffer extensive river flooding five days before last November’s devastation but declined to disclose this information.

As warned in advance by the city council’s environment department, a combination of high tides and strong winds saw levels of the River Lee advance steadily shortly after tea-time last night. Another warning is in force for tonight.

Parts of Lavitt’s Quay and Lapp’s Quay were also affected by rising water levels, but no damage was reported, unlike the millions of euro in destruction caused by last year’s deluge.

The failure to warn Irish authorities in advance of last November’s floods arose because the Government hadn’t signed up as a partner to the pan-European early warning flood research project.

However, Ireland has since signed up to the European Floods Alert System (EFAS) system, which will keep the national weather forecasting service in the loop on EFAS’s future predictions.

The news emerged yesterday as the authorities in Cork, which suffered hundreds of millions of euro worth of damage when the city flooded on November 19 last, issued a tidal flood alert for low-lying parts of the city for last night and today.

But EFAS was predicting on November 15 last that both the river Lee and Shannon would flood.

EFAS senior scientist Ad de Roo, who is based at a JRC facility in Ispra, near Milan, said they use advanced computer modelling and rainfall prediction technology from 120 daily weather forecasts, to predict river flooding across Europe.

“Member states have a one or two day forecasting system. We try to go beyond that,” Mr de Roo said.

The system is so advanced they aim to provide member states with between a three-day and 10-day warning.

“Ireland was not a member so we could not send it out (flood warning). Ireland is now a member, we can send them the information,” he said.

Meanwhile, high tides are predicted in Cork today at 7.01am and 7.23pm.

The combination of a tidal surge and strong south easterly winds are expected to cause spot flooding in low lying areas including Sawmill Street, Cotter Street, Stable Lane, Union Quay, Morrisons Quay, Corn Market Street, Frenchs Quay, Wandesford Quay, Oliver Plunkett Street, Lavitts Quay, Kyrls Street and Kyrls Quay.

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