Flood fears abate as river levels drop

Pictured yesterday is the Clonown Road, on Athlone’s west side, which runs beside the Big Meadow callow. It is traditionally one of the first areas in the town to flood when river levels rise, along with the Carrickobrien Road on the east side.

Pictured yesterday is the Clonown Road, on Athlone’s west side, which runs beside the Big Meadow callow. It is traditionally one of the first areas in the town to flood when river levels rise, along with the Carrickobrien Road on the east side.

Council officials moved yesterday, January 9, to reassure residents in flood-prone areas of Athlone that levels in the Shannon are not now expected to rise to levels which may threaten homes.

“The council is in receipt of data from the ESB which predicts that water levels will not rise to critical levels and will stabilise over the next five days. The council are monitoring the situation closely,” a spokesperson stated.

This was a comforting contradiction to a statement issued last Friday which stated more alarmingly that: “Water levels in the river Shannon are continuing to rise ... [and] a short section of roadway at McQuaid’s Bridge on Deerpark Road has been closed. There is a risk of further flooding”.

Then, it was feared that flooding in the lowest houses in the town would have occurred by Wednesday this week, but despite some torrential rain in the interim, this has fortunately not happened.

At that stage the town council activated its Flood Emergency Response Plan which provides a range of precautionary measures to reduce the risk of flooding and to provide assistance in the areas at most risk.

Though the plan is still active, it is not now expected the council will have to implement it at this point.

As of lunchtime yesterday (January 9 ) at the town marina the Shannon was still 30cms (1ft ) short of breaching the bank, and was 70cm below peak 2009 levels.

Also, in the five hours between 8.30am and 1.30pm on Thursday January 9 the river dropped 0.5cm.

Further detailed advice is available on the councils’ websites at www.athlone.ie

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