The Irish Times
Met Éireann downgrades weather warning:
Emergency clinics set up in Ballinasloe and Crossmolina, but public uptake slow Ireland has asked for help of European emergency agency in mapping flood plains
A weather system which is due to wash over Ireland today will not be as severe as first thought, according to Met Éireann.
A status orange rainfall warning for the southwest has been maintained for Saturday, but predictive models as of yesterday showed that amounts are likely to peak at 50mm rather than the previously-stated 80mm in parts of the west.
There may be snow in the midlands for a time later this morning as a wet front approaching from Kerry meets cold air coming from the north, but by-and-large there will be “normal-type” rain over the course of the day compared to last weekend’s deluges according to forecaster Evelyn Cusack.
Water levels are still rising along the river Shannon according to the Office of Public Works (OPW) but the most recent increase of up to two inches over a 24-hour period is less severe than on previous days.
That said, warnings remain in place for areas within the Shannon’s mid and lower catchment areas including Westmeath, Clare and Limerick, and local authorities have been urged to convene flood assessment teams with the weekend’s rain likely to add to flooding.
It also emerged yesterday that Ireland has sought the assistance of mapping experts in the European Emergency Centre to keep track of rising flood waters.
Officials from the OPW confirmed that satellite mapping data has now been shared with Ireland by the European Centre, which uses images from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus programme to provide detailed images of flood plains which may prove “very helpful”.
The Department of Social Protection indicated that there has been a slow response from members of the public to the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme, with less than 100 applications for help so far.
Emergency clinics where people can register for funds to pay for food, bedding, clothing and temporary accommodation have been set up in Ballinasloe and Crossmolina.
Further centres may be opened in Clare, Limerick and Athlone depending on the severity of the weekend’s events.
Applications for assistance are means-tested but help can be accessed by anyone affected by the severe weather, according to spokeswoman Helen Faughnan.
Tom Browne from the ESB said volumes of water release from Lough Derg were kept at 375 cubic metres per second yesterday as water levels in the lake had stabilised, but that this was likely to be increased over the coming days.
Discharge at Iniscarra dam along the river Lee has also been kept consistent, but he said the river was “bank-full with some localised flooding of fields and roads between Iniscarra and Cork city”.
Irish Water said the boil-water notice currently in place for Ballinasloe was likely to continue until Monday. However, the company added that the town’s water supply had been testing clear all week after fears of contamination following the flooding of a water treatment plant in the area.