Met Éireann has forecasted heavy rainfall for this coming weekend, leading to increased flooding concerns locally as the level of the Shannon continues to creep upwards.
Speaking on Wednesday this week, Minister for the Office of Public Works, Kevin “Boxer” Moran, said he has been briefed by Met Eireann on the situation. While heavy rainfall is promised and Minister Moran did express some concern, he said for the moment Athlone appears to be okay.
“I was briefed this morning and we are due for an awful fall of water, 40mm we believe,” the Minister said. “We are already at our limits in some parts of the country, but for the moment Athlone looks to be okay.”
Minister Moran said he is working closely with the ESB and all relevant authorities in monitoring the situation and making the relevant precautions.
“We were letting 197 cubic meters of water per second through the system and the ESB have recently upped that,” Minister Moran continued. “Look, we are always on edge, the people of Athlone, south of Athlone, downstream of Athlone, we are all in the same boat. We have seen this happen before, so of course we are all fearful, that is understandable.”
Minister Moran added that Met Éireann is yet to confirm if Ireland will experience another storm this weekend, but if it does it will not be anywhere near the same conditions experienced during Storm Ophelia.
“If there is a storm it will be ‘Storm Brian’, as is being reported, but Met Éireann does not know for sure if it is going to hit us yet,” he said. “We are definitely going to get rain, we have been told that much, and that in itself is a problem. If it follows the same pattern it is at the moment then we are due to get 40mm plus of rain, and that is certainly alarming. We have had a lot of rainfall since late August, torrential rain in some places, and we see that currently with the levels of the Shannon. But we are all working together to drop the levels of the river.”