Severe conditions to ease off for weekend, according to Met Éireann

Just light winds and some showers are expected today, mainly in the west

Concerns over the Shannon were easing – at least in Athlone where levels were said to be “stabilising”.

Concerns over the Shannon were easing – at least in Athlone where levels were said to be “stabilising”.

Fri, Feb 7, 2014, 01:00



A period of some respite from the recent severe weather can be expected through much of the weekend, according to Met Éireann.

Just light winds and some showers are expected today, mainly in the west. The north and east should remain dry for the most part. However, in the southwest – Kerry, Cork and Clare – a new weather system will start passing over the country in the early afternoon bringing with it persistent heavy rain and southerly winds with gusts of 80 to 100 km/h.

Official concerns remain high, however, as indicated by a further meeting yesterday of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group in Dublin. In a report to Government yesterday, the group continued to express its concern at high water levels in key rivers, while the risk of tidal flooding will continue to recede, it said in a statement.

Fresh rains in the coming days “will serve to top up the already near capacity of our rivers and poses a major risk”, said the statement.

“This risk is heightened in slow moving rivers and particularly the Shannon. The Barrow, Nore and Slaney are also at very high levels and any additional rain may cause serious flooding.”

‘Stabilising’
Last night, concerns over the Shannon were easing – at least in Athlone where levels were said to be “stabilising”.

“Fortunately for Athlone, the most intense rainfall over the last two days was in the southern half of the country, reducing the pressure on the upper Shannon,” said town clerk Pat Keating.

The town council expected river levels to remain constant over the next five days. Water levels in the Shannon are monitored and can be controlled, to some extent, by the ESB.

Met Éireann’s current general weather alert is yellow, the lowest grade of weather warning, indicating that people in risk areas, in this case the southwest, should be aware of the weather and take precautionary action against the effects of possible flooding. (Orange warning suggests a risk of significant impact from weather; red means people need to protect themselves, by staying indoors or leaving a danger zone.)

“This weather [today and over the weekend] will be nothing out of the ordinary,” said Gerry Murphy of Met Éireann. “It will be fairly typical for this time of year, wet and windy, but of course it comes on top of everything else that people are getting fed up with.”

Tomorrow will see showers, some thundery and heavy, with southwest winds and some sunny spells. Sunday will bring no new depressions from the Atlantic and Sunday night will be dry and frosty in many places.

Later on Monday, however, and through Tuesday, another bout of intense rain and winds is expected but as yet, forecasters are reluctant to predict whether this system will bring conditions as severe as some of those experienced earlier this week.

The National Co-ordination Group said it met again to discuss “the threat posed by rising rivers, to review the response to date, to assess the impact of the storms on infrastructure and communities and to ensure that the response of relevant local authorities, Government departments and agencies continues to be co-ordinated”.

The group advised people in need of immediate assistance coping with the effects of flooding that Community Welfare Services provide exceptional needs and urgent needs payments. The charity, Oxfam, also announced a local needs effort yesterday.