Ireland – River Shannon Floods Affect at Least 6 Counties

Flooding has been reported across several counties in Ireland after further heavy rain increased levels of the River Shannon in the west and caused some flash flooding on roads in eastern and southern areas.

Parts of the country had already seen some flooding in the wake of Storm Desmond between 04 and 05 December 2015, which left one person dead. Met Éireann then issued a severe weather warning on 11 December 2015 for heavy rain and warned that further flooding was likely.

The heavy rain over the weekend caused some flooding in the counties of Sligo, Cork, Leitrim and also in the Dublin area where some roads were blocked in the north of the capital. However, the worst affected areas were those in the west of the country in the River Shannon basin.

River Shannon Floods

A wet November in Ireland had left levels of the Shannon high and ground saturated. Late last week, towns along the Shannon, in particular Ballinasloe, Portumna, Athlone and Carrick-on-Shannon, battled with flooding during the days following Storm Desmond.

Wider areas of the Shannon basin have since been affected, fearing a repeat of the 2009 Shannon River floods. Over the weekend flooding was reported in the counties of Limerick, Clare, Galway, Westmeath, Kerry and Offaly among others.

Ireland’s Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for rivers and flooding, report that, as of Monday 14 December 2015, levels of the Shannon were still rising in the mid to lower Shannon basin area, between Athlone to Limerick. Levels are expected to start to fall over the next 24 hours, although the decline will be very slow, meaning areas could be affected for weeks.

Hundreds of troops from Irish Defence Forces were deployed to shore up flood defences in counties including Mayo, Clare, Westmeath and Galway.

Fire service and Civil Defence personnel were also called on to help pump out flood water or build up temporary flood defences.

Support for Flood Affected Families and Businesses

The Irish Government has allocated €10 million to assist affected homeowners and €5 million to small businesses. The Irish Red Cross has been working in some affected areas to assist families hit by the floods.

Maps of Affected Areas

The Copernicus Emergency Management Rapid Mapping Service was activated to produce maps of some of the affected areas of Ireland, as well as those in northern England, to show the impact and assist in the management of the damage due to the floods.

Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) Mapping began in February this year and is funded by the European Commission. EMS addresses, with a worldwide coverage, a wide range of emergency situations resulting from natural or man-made disasters. The satellite imagery is used as a main datasource about disasters such as floods.

Map of floods in Limerick from 12 December 2015. Map by Copernicus EMS
Map of floods in Limerick from 12 December 2015. Map by Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS)
Map of Athlone floods 12 December 2015. Map by Copernicus EMS
Map of Athlone floods 12 December 2015. Map by Copernicus EMS
Map of Carrick floods 12 December 2015. Map by Copernicus EMS
Map of Carrick floods 12 December 2015. Map by Copernicus EMS

Photos of the River Shannon Floods, Ireland

Photos below are courtesy of Defence Forces Ireland and were taken between 08 and 12 December 2015 in the River Shannon basin, Ireland.

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Athlone looking south

Ballyhaunis Area 3

Ballyhaunis Area 2

Ballyhaunis Area

North of Ballinasloe

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