Met Éireann has said that there will be further heavy rain over the next 24 hours in the Eastern half of Ireland. Worst affected areas will be Counties Down, Louth, Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford. It added that floods were likely to affect Dublin areas. Residents of the North Cork towns of Mallow and Fermoy are bracing themselves for further flooding this evening as the level of the river Blackwater continues to rise there. Already the Park road and part of Bridge street in Mallow have been evacuated and closed to traffic although the Spa, which flooded yesterday, has not as yet re-flooded. However the level of the Blackwater up stream from Mallow is beginning to drop slowly and this may save both Mallow and Fermoy from extensive flooding.
In Annamoe, County Wicklow, two and a half miles from Glendalough and Roundwood, Avonmore River has reportedly burst its banks with houses being very badly flooded and roads impassable. Also in Wicklow, dozens of people are being evacuated from their homes in Arklow. The town is completely cut off because of the flooding. Residents are being brought to the Arklow Bay Hotel. Avoca is also cut off due to fears for the safety of the bridge. Aughrim also cut off, as is Wooden Bridge. All sittings at Clonmel Court house today and tomorrow have been cancelled as there is two foot of water flooding the entrance. Many schools have now closed in Clonmel as floodwaters continue to rise. The East Coast Area Health Board has set up a freephone number for anyone concerned about flooding in Arklow. The number is 1800 383800.
Emergency services are attempting to deal with the widespread disruption to the rail, road and electricity networks caused by further flooding and high winds. ESB crews are reportedly making progress in restoring supply to customers affected by falling trees causing damage to the power system. Most of the damage is in isolated areas where access for crews is difficult, but more than 3,000 customers had their power restored this morning. Because high winds are continuing to cause further damage, a total of 5,000 customers remain without supply. The ESB hopes to make significant progress in restoring power to these customers within the next few hours.
At the same time, ESB power stations reservoirs on the River Liffey at Poulaphouca, Golden Falls and Leixlip have been filling up due the heavy rainfall. The rainfall amounts are the biggest since Hurricane Charlie. ESB has been minimising the effects downstream of the rainfall so far. Up to now, it has retained the waters upstream of the dams. Now the levels are over those set out in protocols. For the last few days the ESB has not run power generation at Poulaphouca power station in order to retain the waters. Starting this afternoon, ESB is operating the power station to slow down the rate of increase of the levels behind the dams. This means water will be allowed to pass through the turbines and go downstream. It is expected that the levels will continue to rise and spillway gates may also have to be opened.
The areas particularly affected by the scattered power supply include the East Coast, the Midlands and the South of the country. ESB technicians left their depots at dawn to begin reconnecting the estimated 2,000 homes across Leinster and Munster without power overnight. The vast majority of these houses have now had their power restored. People are urged to report fallen lines to ESB or Gardaí.
The Major Emergency Plan is in operation in County Kildare. This means that the Army has been called in to assist Gardaí with evacuations. The worst affected areas in Kildare are Maynooth, Straffan and Kill. The N7 is very badly flooded at Kill. The N2 is closed at Ballrath between Slane and Ashbourne.
Counties in the Midwest of the country have largely escaped the effects of the bad weather. However, a number of homes in rural parts of County Clare are still without electricity. Homes in Kilbaha, Doonbeg, Darragh, and Rineen, as well as parts of East Clare near Feakle and Flagmont, are without power and crews are working to restore power. A number of homes and businesses were flooded last night beside the Mall river in Templemore, but the waters have subsided there this morning. Limerick City has been largely clear of flooding. There has been some localised flooding at Newtown on the Nenagh-Killaloe road, and also at Sixmilebridge in County Clare. A number of rural roads near Kilrush have also been closed because of fallen trees.
The Minister with responsibility for Flood Relief has blamed some local authorities for not implementing flood relief measures sooner. Martin Cullen said that the Office of Public Works allocated monies some time ago to local authorities such as in Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir but, because of disagreement between corporation members as to how the money is spent, nothing has been done to date to implement flood relief measures.