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Displaying items by tag: Storm Desmond

#StormDesmond - With many parts of the country still recovering from the effects of Storm Desmond earlier this month – and Galway in particular facing a €12 million clean-up bill – it might be surprising to learn that some people turned the conditions to their advantage.

But that's exactly what a group of intrepid kayakers did in Ennistymon, Co Clare, as the floodwaters turned part of the Cullenagh River into raging rapids – and local TD Timmy Dooley happened to be there to record it all on video, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Elsewhere, Northern Irish big wave surfer Al Mennie wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to paddle out to the 20-foot swells generated by the storm, captured in all their glory in a photo gallery on Uproxx.

Published in Kayaking

#Shannon - The worst flooding in two decades could fall upon the Shannon catchment in the coming days as spring tides accentuate the effects of last weekend's Storm Desmond.

According to The Irish Times, the Office of Public Works has told the National Emergency Co-ordination Committee that the River Shannon from Limerick to Athlone is the one area "giving most concern", with all gauging stations on the waterway showing only rising levels.

And spring tides this coming Friday and Saturday (11-12 December) are set to combine with "the fluvial flood wave coming down the Shannon" that is rated "in the severe category", warned the OPW's Jim Casey, who noted that the Erne catchment is also rising.

Meanwhile, the ESB has increased the flow of water from Parteen Weir at Ardnacrusha to help manage the Shannon's flood waters – but this too may lead to flooding of streets in Limerick city and suburbs.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#StormDesmond - Mike the donkey has a lot to be cheery about as volunteers for Animal Heaven Animal Rescue helped rescue him from floodwaters in Kilorglin, Co Kerry yesterday (Sunday 6 December).

As TheJournal.ie reports, Suzanne Gibbons from the animal rescuers put out an appeal on social media after she was altered to the fate of the donkey, who had bolted from his field after Storm Desmond blew the gate over and got trapped in a nearby flooded river.

It wasn't long before two local men brought a boat with a rope and life ring to help tow back onto dry land the grateful animal who's since been named after one of his rescuers.

Rising water levels across the country in the wake of Storm Desmond have prompted a marine notice from Waterways Ireland advising all masters and owners of vessels at public harbours, jetties or moorings against boating in extreme conditions such as storm-force winds and heavy rainfall.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Rescue - A 15-year-old girl who was one of two teens rescued of Hook Head yesterday (Sunday 6 December) was unconscious when she was taken out of the water, it has emerged.

As RTÉ News reports, the girl is one of four from a Dublin scouts group who were washed into the sea from the rocks by a surprise wave as the remnants of Storm Desmond passed over Ireland.

Two managed to swim to shore, but the others – the girl and a 15-year-old boy – got into difficulty in what the Irish Coast Guard described as "confused" heavy seas.

As of this morning (Monday 7 December) the girl was said to be in a critical condition at University Hospital Waterford. RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#StormDesmond - It was a 'red' alert for western coastal counties this weekend as Storm Desmond blew in from the Atlantic with extreme gusts and downpours.

But amid the damage and disruption across the country, Galway-based photographer Cathal Devlin took to social media to share his dismay at the recklessness of two would-be divers who decided the stormy conditions presented the perfect time to take a dip.

Devlin's video of the "stunt" at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill – which clearly shows the young men ignoring basic water safety advice by diving into rough seas, with blasts of spray occasionally obscuring the pier – has gone viral in the 24 hours since he first uploaded it to Facebook. But he says he did not post it for entertainment purposes.

"I do not know if they are strong swimmers or not, that is not the case," Devlin writes. "If any one of them got into difficulties there was no one there to do anything for them.

"The voluntary and rescue services are kept busy enough without having to worry about this type of stupid behaviour."

Published in Water Safety

#Weather - Met Éireann has issued a rare Status Red rainfall warning for western counties as Storm Desmond barrels in from the Atlantic later today (Friday 4 December).

The Irish meteorological service warns of "incessant falls of heavy rain overnight and for all of Saturday" from Kerry to Donegal, with "accumulations in excess of 70mm expected" particularly on higher ground.

Slightly less rain is expected in Cavan, Limerick and Cork but accumulations of up to 70mm are likely, and will result in "flooding and treacherous driving conditions" throughout the western half of the country.

A Status Orange wind warning is in effect for the West Coast, with mean wind speeds of up to 75kmh from the southwest, gusting to 120kmh and strongest in coastal areas.

Met Éireann has declared Status Yellow for wind in Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Leinster and much of Munster with 100kmh gusts expected.

For those at sea, southwesterly gales will develop on all Irish coastal waters and in the Irish Sea as the day progresses, increasing to storm force this afternoon between Loop Head and Fair Head. A Status Yellow small craft warning is in effect.

Published in Weather

Sharks in Irish waters

Irish waters are home to 71 species of shark, skates and rays, 58 of which have been studied in detail and listed on the Ireland Red List of Cartilaginous fish. Irish sharks range from small Sleeper sharks, Dogfish and Catsharks, to larger species like Frilled, Mackerel and Cow sharks, all the way to the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark. 

Irish waters provide a refuge for an array of shark species. Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry provides a habitat for several rare and endangered sharks and their relatives, including the migratory tope shark, angel shark and undulate ray. This area is also the last European refuge for the extremely rare white skate. Through a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) project, Marine Institute scientists have been working with fishermen to assess the distribution, diversity, and monthly relative abundance of skates and rays in Tralee, Brandon and Dingle Bays.

“These areas off the southwest coast of Ireland are important internationally as they hold some of the last remaining refuges for angel shark and white skate,” said Dr Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. “This EMFF project has provided data confirming the critically endangered status of some species and provides up-to-date information for the development of fishery measures to eliminate by-catch.” 

Irish waters are also home to the Black Mouthed Catshark, Galeus melastomus, one of Ireland’s smallest shark species which can be found in the deep sea along the continental shelf. In 2018, Irish scientists discovered a very rare shark-nursery 200 nautical miles off the west coast by the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 on a shelf sloping to 750 metres deep. 

There are two ways that sharks are born, either as live young or from egg casings. In the ‘case’ of Black Mouthed Catsharks, the nursery discovered in 2018, was notable by the abundance of egg casings or ‘mermaid’s purses’. Many sharks, rays and skate lay eggs, the cases of which often wash ashore. If you find an egg casing along the seashore, take a photo for Purse Search Ireland, a citizen science project focusing on monitoring the shark, ray and skate species around Ireland.

Another species also found by Irish scientists using the ROV Holland 1 in 2018 was a very rare type of dogfish, the Sail Fin Rough Shark, Oxynotus paradoxus. These sharks are named after their long fins which resemble the trailing sails of a boat, and live in the deep sea in waters up to 750m deep. Like all sharks, skates and rays, they have no bones. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage, much like what our noses and ears are made from! This material is much more flexible and lighter than bone which is perfect for these animals living without the weight of gravity.

Throughout history sharks have been portrayed as the monsters of the sea, a concept that science is continuously debunking. Basking sharks were named in 1765 as Cetorhinus maximus, roughly translated to the ‘big-nosed sea monster’. Basking sharks are filter feeders, often swimming with their mouths agape, they filter plankton from the water.

They are very slow moving and like to bask in the sun in shallow water and are often seen in Irish waters around Spring and early Summer. To help understand the migration of these animals to be better able to understand and conserve these species, the Irish Basking Shark Group have tagged and mapped their travels.

Remarkably, many sharks like the Angel Shark, Squatina squatina have the ability to sense electricity. They do this via small pores in their skin called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ which are able to detect the tiny electrical impulses of a fish breathing, moving or even its heartbeat from distances of over a kilometre! Angel sharks, often referred to as Monkfish have a distinctively angelic shape, with flattened, large fins appearing like the wings of an angel. They live on the seafloor in the coastal waters of Ireland and much like a cat are nocturnal, primarily active at night.

The intricate complexity of shark adaptations is particularly noticeable in the texture of their skin. Composed of miniscule, perfectly shaped overlapping scales, the skin of shark provides them with protection. Often shark scales have been compared to teeth due to their hard enamel structure. They are strong, but also due to their intricate shape, these scales reduce drag and allow water to glide past them so that the shark can swim more effortlessly and silently. This natural flawless design has been used as inspiration for new neoprene fabric designs to help swimmers glide through the water. Although all sharks have this feature, the Leafscale Gulper Shark, Centrophorus squamosus, found in Ireland are specifically named due to the ornate leaf-shape of their scales.