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Coastal Flooding Risk Warns Irish Water Safety

18th February 2011
Coastal Flooding Risk Warns Irish Water Safety
Irish Water Safety has today warned about the increased risk to the public in our current and forecast flood conditions this weekend. Ireland will experience the largest tides this year with Galway being worst hit with a high tide of 5.3 metres and the low water receding to -.1 metre below chart datum, which is unusual. During this coming Saturday & Sunday morning and evening it will become windy with heavy rain and strong south to westerly winds. There will be a full moon tonight which creates these large tidal ranges, in addition there are large areas of low pressure out in the Atlantic which further increase the height of our tides tides especially in our estuaries and bays exposed to the south and west coasts. The periods of rain over the weekend further increase flooding levels.

Flood conditions expose the public to hazards they need to be aware of. Fast moving water can exert pressure of up to four times its speed against the legs of someone attempting to cross it. Because water displaces bodyweight, the deeper a person becomes immersed the less the person weighs so the more difficult it is to remain upright. Never put ones feet down if swept away in floodwater, because foot and body entrapments and pinning are the leading cause of accidental death in rivers and fast flowing water.

Motorists need to be vigilant to avoid flooded areas on roads but particularly near rivers; with poor light and short days it is not possible to determine the depth of floods easily.  Swift water will carry cars and other vehicles away and there have been very tragic drownings in the past as a result.

Children are naturally curious about water, therefore parents should caution them that floodwater hides the true depth and that manhole covers may be open and that small streams when swollen are very fast and deeper than normal.

What should I do when I hear a Flood Warning?
·              Listen to the national and local radio for met eireann updates and AA Road watch updates
·              Check on neighbours particularly if they are elderly, infirmed or families with young children
·              Move your vehicles to higher ground
·              Move animal stock to higher ground
·              Check your small craft to ensure they are well secured or moored
·              Make sure you have warm clothes, food, drink, a torch and radio.
·              Block doorways and airbricks with sandbags or plastic bags filled with earth. Floodgate products will also work effectively.
·              Switch off gas and electricity supplies if flooding is imminent.
·              Check the time of High Water in the Newspaper or on http://easytide.ukho.gov.uk/EASYTIDE/EasyTide/SelectPort.aspx
·              Check out www.flooding.ie for more detail on General flooding

Personal Safety
·              Avoid flood waters at all times
·              carry a mobile phone at all times in case you need to call for help - call 112  in emergency
·              Wear suitable protective clothing & a lifejacket on or around water
·              Do not enter fast flowing water.
·              Never put your feet down if swept away by fast flowing waters
·              Flooding on roads will be deeper at dips and around bridges.
·              Stay away from sea and flood defences.
·              when walking or driving, be aware of manhole covers and gratings that may have been moved due to the heavy flow of water.
·              Take care when using electric appliances in damp or flood conditions.
·              Remember that during the hours of darkness the dangers are multiplied.

After the flood
·              Avoid eating food that has been in contact with flood water.
·              Run water for a few minutes and wash your taps.
·              Check gas and electricity supply.
·              Leave wet electrical equipment alone to dry and have it checked prior to use.
·              Ventilate your property well.
·              Check on elderly neighbors.
Published in Marine Warning
Afloat.ie Team

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