Coastal areas prepare again as Met Éireann warns of huge seas and strong wind

Orange warning issued; 120km/h winds expected

Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 08:28

The south and west coasts are bracing themselves for more potential flooding today with mountainous seas of 11 metres expected.

An orange warning, the second highest, has been issued by Met Éireann for counties Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford – giving rise to the possibility of more coastal and spot flooding.

An orange warning implies that all locals should prepare for the anticipated conditions.

Weather updates

Gusts of between 100 and 120km/h are forecast along exposed coasts. The conditions have forced the cancellation of the 2.45am and 2.30pm Stena Line sailings from Fishguard to Dublin today and the company said sailings tomorrow are under review. Irish Ferries has cancelled all its Swift sailings.

The combination of high seas and tides, which has already caused millions of euro worth of damage, is likely to bring more severe threats to areas of counties Cork, Galway and Clare already badly affected by coastal flooding.

Speaking in Saudi Arabia yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he witnessed the damage done to Bertra Beach in his Mayo constituency on Friday and that the scale of the damage was “quite enormous”.

“What took 50,000 years to put together was blown away and washed away literally in 12 hours,” he said.

He said it would be necessary to carry out an examination of the scale of damage from Lahinch to Galway before considering what to do.

AA Roadwatch has warned of flooding on the road between Lahinch and Liscannor in Co Clare this morning.

Clare County Council said Lahinch promenade remains closed to the public until further notice after the promenade walkways and seawall were “seriously compromised” during stormy weather on Friday morning. The council’s senior engineer, Tom Tiernan, warned it was “simply not safe for people”.

Contingency arrangements
The council, in conjunction with the emergency services, said it was also progressing contingency arrangements in terms of additional pumping capacity and other flood-alleviation measures at flood-prone locations throughout Clare.

The Coast Guard issued a statement last night strongly advising the public not to go out on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal areas during the stormy weather.

Irish Coast Guard manager Declan Geoghegan said: “The public should exercise extreme caution and venture out only where necessary; also don’t go out alone, and have a method of raising the alarm if necessary.”

One of the worst flood-hit areas was Galway where the Spanish Arch area of the city was under several inches of water following high tides and storm, while in Cleggan six cars were swept off the pier at the Inishbofin ferry docks.

Elsewhere, water levels on the river Shannon are expected to rise over several days into this week with parts of the midlands at increased risk of flooding.

Human remains were torn up as graveyards across the west were battered by the gale-force winds and pounding seas over the weekend. Cemeteries across south Connemara in particular were severely hit as roads and pathways were ripped up and boulders thrown up by the sea which smashed into graves and monuments.

At Muirios graveyard in Baile na hAbhann, coffins and human bones were exposed by the high seas which crashed onto the burial ground.

“It is distressing for everyone to see such damage. A huge wall which was protecting the graveyard has been knocked and the sea just spilled in and did all the damage”, said local Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

The good news is that an end looks in sight to the wind and rain of recent weeks with the forecast suggesting calmer conditions will arrive from Wednesday.