Tides and floods cause chaos across country

MORE than 5,000 ESB customers were left without power this morning after the country was battered by yet another storm front.

Two vans lie in several feet of water in the promenade carpark at Lahinch in Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

Two vans lie in several feet of water in the promenade carpark at Lahinch in Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

Galway and parts of Clare experienced some of the worst of the flooding while parts of Dublin are braced for high tide this afternoon.

However, Cork traders and residents heaved a sigh of relief when the city centre escaped major flooding after high tide at 6.20am today.

There was minor flooding in the Morrisson’s Quay and South Terrace areas but Gardai stressed it was nothing like the flooding from 6.45pm yesterday evening which left parts of the city centre impassable.

However, with another high tide forecast for 7pm tonight, motorists have been warned not to park cars on low-lying city centre quays.

Traders and residents have again been urged to take precautions including keeping sandbags near vulnerable entrances.

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Trees were also blown down all around the country, blocking roads and pulling down power lines.

The winds also affected sea crossings, with Irish Ferries, P&O, and Stena Line all saying some ferry sailings were cancelled, and in Cork an Aer Aran plane carrying around 50 passengers successfully landed on its third attempt last night as winds affected air travel.

Insurance industry officials have admitted that the damages bill for the freak winter weather in the south west could exceed €200m.

In Clontarf in Dublin, residents are hoping that flood protection will be sufficient to resist today’s predicted high tides.

Dublin City Council spokeswoman Angela Walsh said the biggest risk of flooding came from a combination of high tides, high winds and low pressure.

Dozens of homes and businesses are facing the worst flooding they have ever seen in Galway this morning.

High tides and heavy rain led to massive flooding around Salthill and the Claddagh area early this morning.

Hundreds of homes remain with electricity in the area while roads around both areas remain unpassable due to high flooding.

Motorists were urged not to attempt driving through flood waters as there was a significant amount of debris in the water.

Leisureplex in Salthill was forced to close today after it suffered some flood damage. Emergency crews are now assessing the damage caused. A spokesperson said they hoped to open again as soon as possible.

Businesses in the Spanish Arch area were also badly hit. Local councillor Neil McNeilis who owns a business in the area said the flood damage was the worst he had ever experienced.

He said that sandbags and flood gates didn’t hinder the flood waters overnight due to the high level of flooding. He said he would now be forced to fork out thousands of euro to replace the floors and electrics in his shop.

Crews from Galway City Council, Galway Fire and Rescue and gardai worked throughout the night in an attempt to keep flood waters at bay and deal with road closures and debris.

There was also significant devastation in parts of Clare, with Lahinch among the worst affected.

ESB crews worked throughout the night attempting to restore power in Salthill, Moycullen, Barna, Oughterard and Recess. It was forced to switch  off power to around 600 homes in Salthill early this morning after flood damage effected some safety equippment. Crews worked throughout the night and morning to restore power but had to wait for the flood waters to recede.

Many roads in the city remained closed this morning doe to the serious flooding. Galway City Council advised motorists to avoid all coastal routes through the city this morning.

Flooding and storm debris have also been reported across the county. Roads in Barna and Spiddal, Oranmore and Clarinbridge were flooded this morning while there were reports of fallen wires on roads between Athenry and Coosaun, trees down in Clifden and Kylemore and large rocks on the road in Carna.

Met Eireann has issued a status orange weather alert for Connacht and the west coast until 2pm today, with gusts of 130kph expected. And it says the outlook remains very unsettled for January.

ESB networks reported that more than 5,000 homes were without power, with the west and south suffering the worst damage, but parts of Dublin and surrounding counties also affected.

In Maynooth 900 homes lost power at 6am this morning, while in Westport Co Mayo more than 500 homes were blacked-out at around 3am, as well as more than 750 homes in Kilrush which lost power at around the same time.

In Ballyshannon in Co Donegal nearly 400 homes were affected by power failure just before 3am, and in Clifden Co Galway more than 188 homes were left in darkness.

AA Roadwatch advised cautious driving in the severe weather with fallen trees and branches reported to be blocking roads near Sallins, Maynooth and Lieixlip in Co Kildare; the Navan to Dunsaughlin Road in Co Meath; and Monastery Road in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

Floods also hit low-lying areas of Cork county including Midleton, Kinsale, Belgooly, Mallow, Fermoy, Carrigaline and Bandon as the south-west experienced the combination of a high tides, a storm surge and torrential rainfall which left rivers swollen to breaking point.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged motorists to drive with care given the spot-flooding and large quantities of surface water in some areas.

Strong winds prompted Cork Airport to go on emergency standby last night after an Aer Lingus Regional/Aer Arann service from Manchester was only able to land on its third attempt.

The turboprop landed safely on its third approach at midnight.

The airport’s emergency status was immediately deactivated.

The flight had 50 passengers on board and one traveller, who landed on an earlier flight, said weather conditions were “absolutely atrocious.”

Gale-force winds battered the country during 20 days in December — and so far January is turning out to be no better.

Met Eireann confirmed that it was the wettest December for 24 years in parts of Ireland, and while temperatures were above average there was little sun.

Property owners at risk of tidal flood in the Dublin suburbs of Clontarf and Sandymount have been advised to protect their premises and follow the guidelines on flooding.ie

Seafront shop-owners and restaurants in Clontarf were bracing themselves as some of the highest tides of the year have been predicted for the coming weekend.

Sandbags have been installed along the promenade close to the Alfie Byrne Road and nearby premises have sandbags at their doors.

A high tide is due today at 12.33pm but property owners were reasonably confident the water will be contained.

The sea surge on New Year’s Day was lower than expected, pushing water onto the grass of the promenade, and did not spread to nearby homes and businesses.

Public car parks in the area have been closed and sandbagged until the middle of next week, as have the car parks in Sandymount where premises also have sandbags at their doors.

As a precaution the flood gates on the Dodder and Tolka rivers will remain closed until the middle of next week.

The Liffey Boardwalk will also remain closed to the public, with flood barriers blocking entrances to the boardwalk from nearby footpaths.

Source: Irish Independent

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