Motorists urged to drive with caution as further heavy rainfall expected


THE GARDA and AA Roadwatch have appealed to motorists to take extreme caution today as further heavy rainfall is expected to follow yesterday’s downpour.

Southeast winds will increase to gale force later today on Irish coastal waters from Carlingford Lough to Hook Head to Mizen Head and on the Irish Sea. Gusts of 80km/h to 110km/h are expected in exposed places.

The Garda said many roads across the State were waterlogged and considered dangerous, while the AA said drivers should reduce speed and drive with extra care. In low-lying areas, householders were advised to be aware of the danger of flooding.

In Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, where there was severe flooding two years ago, the river Shannon has risen significantly but is not thought to be in imminent danger of flooding, according local Civil Defence volunteers.

In Co Cork, however, some local roads were already closed last night with flooding on the North Ring Road in Cork city between Boyne Crescent and Liffey Park.

Flooding also occurred on the N25 heading eastbound on the Dunkettle interchange. A branch of a tree blocked the Old Whitechurch Road in Blackpool.

Waterlogging took place on the Kinsale Road roundabout in the city and there was flooding as motorists entered Blarney, Co Cork. A fallen tree blocked the road between Tower and Blarney, while the road on the Ballygarvan to Carrigaline route was flooded.

Similar disruptions were expected to become widespread overnight and continue across the State today. Met Éireann said strong winds would worsen conditions, particularly in coastal counties of Munster and Leinster, where rainfall of 40mm to 70mm is expected.

The level of rainfall is severe. In November 2009, one of the wettest months on record, the record rainfall for a single day was 50mm.

The outlook until Thursday is, however, for drier, cool weather, with further significant rain not expected until late on Friday.

The last of the rain is expected to clear from Ulster during the early part of tomorrow morning. It will be a bright, cool day, with highest temperatures of 10 or 11 degrees. Apart from some showers in western and northern counties, most of Wednesday will be dry with similar temperatures. Night-times tomorrow and Wednesday will be cold, with lowest temperatures about two to four degrees and a fairly widespread frost.

The dry weather will continue into Thursday but with a gradual return to milder conditions.