A number of communities remain on flood alert with further bands of heavy rain expected to move across the State in the coming days.
Met Éireann last night issued a rain warning for counties Cork and Kerry cautioning that 25-35 mm could fall between 9am today and the same time tomorrow morning.
The forecaster had earlier said last month was the wettest December since records began 50 years ago as a result of the rainfall brought by winter storms such as Desmond and Frank. Parts of Cork experienced three times the average rainfall for the month, it said.
The latest figures show some 160 homes were flooded in recent weeks, with about 100 of these hit following Storm Frank at the beginning of last month.
Authorities are said to be "very concerned" about Athlone given continually rising river levels and further heavy rain expected this weekend. Following a 7cm increase over the past 48 hours, the Shannon in Athlone is now 10cm above a previous peak recorded after Storm Desmond.
There has been an 11cm rise in
city over the same period, and a 9cm rise upstream at Lough Derg, with significant increases in water levels also noted in the Bandon, Erne, Slaney, Suir and Boyne rivers.
Speaking after the National Co-ordination Group on Recent Severe Weather met in Dublin yesterday, Galway City Council chief executive Brendan McGrath said the Shannon was about 5cm off a level in 2009 when lands along large sections of the river were seriously flooded.
“We remain very concerned in relation to the Shannon at Athlone,” he said, adding that if levels continued to rise further work will be required to fend of any potential damage in so far as possible.
Met Éireann forecaster
said a dry and frosty night would give way to further bouts of heavy rain on New Year’s Day, tomorrow and into Sunday. Speaking about the as-yet incomplete Met Éireann figures for December, he said Dublin Airport saw 193mm of rain, compared with its December average of 73mm. Cork Airport recorded three times its average of 133mm, and the Valentia station in Kerry had its wettest December since opening 76 years ago, he added.
Flood waters have subsided in some areas such as Bandon and Mallow, and relief programmes are continuing with 130 households receiving help from the Government’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme and a similar amount of businesses seeking grants from the Red Cross.
Irish Red Cross secretary general Liam O'Dwyer indicated that it was difficult to say whether the initial €5 million set aside by the Government for a flood relief scheme for traders would be adequate.
Some €300,000 has already been paid out, but this constitutes the smaller grants of under €5,000 awarded prior to Christmas. Some 40 per cent of applications remain outstanding heading into the new year, he added.