Country braces for weather assault

Met Éireann is expected to issue a red alert as gale force winds of up to 130km/h, high tides, rain, sleet, hail, and thunder hit the country this weekend.

Country braces for weather assault

Local authorities — especially along the Atlantic seaboard — are putting in place contingency plans ahead of the first band of adverse weather which will dump up to 40mm of rain today, mainly on Munster, Connaught, and South Leinster.

According to forecasters, when that clears, it will be followed tomorrow and Sunday with gale force winds, sleet, thundery showers, and very high tides. Low-lying coastal areas will be particularly at risk and further unsettled weather is forecast into next week.

In Co Kerry, the highest tides will occur at 5.30am tomorrow. A spokesman for the county council said Rossbeigh, Ballybunion, Kells, and Ballylongford will be most at risk.

“We have put out sandbags and pumps in these areas. Drains are being cleaned and fire brigade and council road crews are on standby,” he said.

In Co Clare, which suffered €23.7m damage in the last storm, areas like Lahinch, Kilbaha, and Cloughaninchy, Quilty are viewed at most risk.

“There is a serious risk countywide of both coastal and inland flooding and all areas which have flooded in the past could be seriously impacted,” said Tom Tiernan, the council’s senior engineer. “Conditions could be similar in nature and extent to the storm events of early January with the potential for structural damage.”

The River Fergus, which runs through Ennis, is very high and is being monitored by the council.

Warnings have been issued in Cork City and businesses and householders in the city centre have been warned to protect their properties.

Meanwhile, Cork County Council’s severe weather alert team met yesterday to discuss the situation.

County engineer David Keane said parts of West Cork were at risk, especially coastal areas of its three peninsulas. He said council staff had been put on emergency alert.

Limerick City and County Council said its outdoor staff and emergency crews were on “standby to deal with any incidents arising from the high tide and stormy conditions forecast for the weekend” along the River Shannon.

The local authority urged the public to “exercise caution” in the vicinity of the Shannon in Limerick City, and along the Shannon estuary at Askeaton, Foynes, and Glin.

It said its staff have been working to “strengthen flood defences in various parts of Limerick City”.

Sandbagging has taken place at Condell Rd and at Verdant Place, while flood barriers have been erected at Howley’s Quay area, and at O’Callaghan Strand and Clancy Strand.

Elsewhere, Shannon Foynes Port Company carried out repair works in the Port area at Foynes, West Limerick, which was one of the locations worst affected by coastal flooding in late December.

In Dublin, larger capacity pumps have been put in place around parts of Clontarf, while car parks along the promenades at Sandymount and at Clontarf will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians. These areas are most at risk of tidal flooding.

Flood gates have been put in place on the River Tolka and River Dodder, while further defensive measures are being at Beatty’s Avenue, Ballsbridge, and at Macken St and Cardiff Lane.

A spokeswoman for Donegal County Council said high tides were expected in Donegal Bay and Lough Swilly up to Feb 5.

Meanwhile, those involved in County Sligo Golf Club, which employs 100 people, will be hoping no further damage is done to their course.

Tom Brennan, senior engineer with Sligo County Council said a detailed submission was being made to the OPW aimed at protecting the Rosses Point course which suffered badly in last month’s storms.

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