Galway’s harbourmaster has hit out at the lack of warning for a severe storm which caused flooding in parts of the city and Salthill last night writes Lorna Siggins.
The city’s emergency plan was invoked after southerly winds forecast at 40 to 45 knots hit 73 knots, and there was a sea surge over quays in the docks and in Salthill.
A cargo ship making regular deliveries to the Aran Islands was thrown up on rock armour when it broke one of its moorings. The 39-metre Saoirse na Mara sustained considerable damage during the height of the winds at around 8 pm.
Capt Sheridan said Valentia Coast Guard had been informed last night, and there was no pollution from the ship and no injuries to crew. Efforts would be made to refloat the vessel at high tide this morning, he said.
Capt Sheridan said the city had “only dodged a bullet by a miracle”, but said he was furious at the lack of warning.
“With climate change and sea-level rise, we are only going to have more of these events and we need to be prepared,” he said.
“This inaccuracy of forecasting highlights our lack of ocean literacy and our need to focus on understanding what is actually going on in the ocean,” he said.
“We need to remind ourselves that the planet is 70 per cent water, and the ocean controls so much of our daily lives. Climate change is here and now,” Capt Sheridan emphasised.
The port had hosted an emergency training exercise for staff yesterday afternoon, and so Capt Sheridan said he had been particularly vigilant about weather forecasts.
“That exercise went off well, but at 3 pm it was forecast for 40 to 45-knot winds on Wednesday night. It reached 73 knots and was off the scale.”
The gusts caused widespread damage to trees on routes in and out of the city.