Water levels stabilise overnight as rain warning lifted

Heavy rainfall did not lead to increased river levels as feared

Conor Pope reports from Golden Island, a small rural community near Athlone which has been isolated by the floods and is struggling to survive in appalling conditions. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

There has been no significant increase in water levels overnight with reports river levels on the upper Shannon are beginning to stabilise and tributary levels are starting to go down.

This comes as a rainfall warning issued by Met Éireann on Wedensday has been lifted.

On the lower Shannon, rainfall did not lead to the high levels which were expected overnight.

“We were fearful if we got the rain which was predicted overnight we would be back to the 2009 levels, but this morning’s report shows just a two inch rise, which to be honest is a relief.

“Homes are at risk for a while to come, Springfield in particular. If we had no rain for the next 10 days we might begin to see some normality restored to county Clare, ” Hugh McGrath of Clare County Council told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Thursday.

Clare County Council later released a statement saying the Lower River Shannon at Springfield, Clonlara was approximately four to five inches below the November 2009 peak level, but that further increases are not anticipated during the day.

The ESB said levels in Lough Derg stabilised in the past 24 hours and that the flow of water through Parteen Weir would remain at 470 cubic metres per second.

The National Co-ordination Group chairman John Barry said the weather was expected to turn cool and dry for the next five or six days, during which time river levels would fall.

“We are beginning to see encouraging signs,” he said. “But we feel we are not out of the woods yet.”

The yellow rain weather warning which was in place overnight has now been lifted, and showers are forecast to fall as hail or sleet on Thursday.

Temperatures have fallen and there is a risk of frost and icy patches on roads around dawn. It will be bright and sunny later in the day, with showers becoming isolated in the afternoon.

Road works

Cork County Council has received funding to raise the N25 road between Killeagh and Castlemartyr from Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

The road, which is the primary route between Cork and Waterford cities, is currently closed due to flooding.

The roadworks, which will commence immediately, aim to minimise the risk of the problem recurring in the future.

It is thought the works will take a number of weeks to complete.

Insurance

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called on insurance companies to do more for those who have been flooded, after Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly claimed firms were refusing cover in areas where flood defences have been built.

Speaking in Amsterdam on Wednesday night, Mr Kenny said: “We need to have a very frank discussion with the insurance companies who make very sizeable profits from Ireland about what this situation is and how it can be addressed.”

Some 260 homes have recently been flooded and 230 others are under threat, according to the latest estimates from the Department of the Environment.

Application forms for the hardship recognition plan will be available from today on the Department of Agriculture’s website and from Teagasc offices, with a closing date of Friday, January 22nd.

The hardship recognition plan has been introduced for farmers, to be paid at market rate, for fodder destroyed in the bad weather.

This support will cover the loss of silage, hay, straw and concentrates due to flooding that is not covered by insurance.

Meanwhile, the Revenue Commissioners will allow flooded home owners to defer their property tax bills for this year, and perhaps longer – but they will face a 4 per cent interest charge if they do so.

Outstanding bills will have to be paid before the property is sold or transferred.