Wind and rain to continue as flood alerts remain in place

Prolonged Atlantic depressions causing the unsettled weather of recent weeks

There is no end in sight to the wind and rain which has caused flooding across the country, Met Éireann has warned.

More heavy rain and high winds are expected along the west coast tonight and an orange warning - the second highest - has been issued for Donegal, Connacht and for western and south-western parts of Munster.

A weather warning has been issued for Galway city with high tides expected this evening at 5.42pm, tomorrow morning at 6am and at 6.30pm tomorrow evening.

The areas most likely to be affected are along the Promenade in Salthill and Grattan Road and at Fishmarket, Spanish Arch. The public is advised to have regard for their safety, particularly at High Tide in these areas.


The area around Spanish Arch, Flood Street and Spanish Parade are at risk of flooding around high tide and businesses and residents in the area are advised to put floodgates and sand-bags in place in advance of high tide, particularly in advance of the 6.00am high tide on Friday morning.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has issued a weather warning for midday tomorrow in anticipation of a tidal surge along the north-east coast.

There is the potential for flooding in Belfast. Areas identified as high risk at this time are Sydenham and around the Docks area. Residents in Sydenham have been asked to consider making preparations for potential flooding in the area.

Heavy rain will spread up through the country this afternoon followed by winds gusting at 130km/h.

With high seas of up to nine metres and high tides, there is a chance of coastal flooding particularly in south-west Connacht, Kerry and Cork.

Tomorrow and Saturday will be a return to more normal conditions with frost at night, but wind and windy weather is expected to return on Sunday and Monday.

Met Éireann forecaster Deirdre Lowe said the unsettled conditions are the result of a south-westerly airstream which has kept temperatures on the mild side, but also brought a lot of wind and rain.

"The upper flow has just been bringing in depressions that are forming in the mid-Atlantic. A lot of them are tracking to the north and west of Ireland and generating the very gusty airflow," she explained. "It looks very unsettled for the week ahead."

The bad weather comes after a December which was the wettest in decades for many parts of the country.

Cork Airport with 211.4mm had its wettest December since 1989 while Moorepark near Fermoy in Co Cork had its wettest December since 1993. Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry recorded 266.6mm on rain during the month, more than ten inches, with 30mm alone falling on December 30th.

Many western and midland areas, particularly Longford, Roscommon and Leitrim, are already experiencing more severe flooding than usual.

Fields close to the Shannon not usually affected by flooding are beneath water this winter, and those that are usually flooded are experiencing a greater volume of water than usual

Dublin city authorities are awaiting high tide anxiously, though buoyed by yesterday’s lower than expected sea surge which failed to cause any major flooding.

"We dodged a bullet," said council spokeswoman Angela Walsh, who said there was no flooding in any of the high-risk areas - on the north city coast at Clontarf and the corresponding southside coastal stretch at Sandymount.

“For major flooding along the lines feared you need high tides, high winds and low pressure and then you’re in trouble,” said Ms Walsh.

While strollers along Dublin’s quays at midday yesterday saw the Liffey at heights rarely witnessed, the relatively calm day produced no tidal surge.

Nonetheless, the side arches of several of the river's bridges were submerged beneath high water and the river lapped at the underside of the entire Rosie Hackett Luas line bridge being built between Marlborough Street and Hawkins Street.

The Millennium Boardwalk remains closed due to flood barriers blocking entrances to it from quayside footpaths.

Tidal barriers near the mouths of the rivers Dodder on the southside and Tolka on the northside will also remain in place to protect the adjacent areas from being flooded by tomorrow’s high tide which is expected at 12.30pm.

The only flooding that did occur in the city yesterday was caused by waves splashing over sea walls at Clontarf and Sandymount, creating what is called “ponding” on coastal roads in both places.

Public car parks remain closed in both locations as a precaution, and sand bags at strategic locations in Clontarf (near Alfie Byrne Road) and at Sandymount will remain in place until early next week.

Public transport remained largely unaffected by the weather yesterday.

However, because of a landslide at Waterford train station, bus transfers between Waterford and Kilkenny for Waterford-Dublin train services, and between Waterford and Carrick-on-Suir for Waterford-Limerick Junction train services, are expected to continue for a number of days.

A kite surfer who got into difficulty off Sandymount was rescued yesterday morning by the Dún Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat. The surfer abandoned his board because of the extreme weather and tried to swim ashore but was unable. Three RNLI volunteers rescued the man in southeasterly winds of up to 25 knots.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh is a contributor to The Irish Times