Homeowners on alert as flood waters rise

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Homeowner across south Galway were on high alert today after flooding worsened overnight.

As large volumes of water flow across the main N18 road at Kiltartan, where a wall collapsed, houses in the area are at risk of being flooded.

Galway County Council warned motorists not to travel unless essential.

Councillor Bridie Willers, who has been evacuated from her home in Ardrahan, said everyone was struggling.

"The build up of water over the last three to four days is incredible" she said.

"The turloughs are full, there are high tides, and the rain is still coming down.

"If the rain stopped we might get a bit of relief."

Officials revealed while many roads have started to reopen, some in the south of the county and sections of the main Galway-Limerick are under water.

Elsewhere the ESB will decide later today if it needs to release more water from Parteen Weir on the River Shannon.

ESB later revealed it must increase the release of water from Parteen Weir from 2.30pm, which will result in a three inch rise in already flooded areas.

A spokesman said water levels in Lough Derg increased significantly to an all-time high overnight due to heavy rainfall.

He revealed the total rate of water discharge is not expected to exceed the rate set on Monday, which was 10% higher than normal level.

"However it is expected to cause increased flood levels downstream of Parteen Weir by an estimated three inches as it is discharging into an already flooded area," he said.

"ESB is working closely with the local authorities and emergency services through the Midwest Interagency group to manage and mitigate the effects of flooding. The situation is being kept under constant review."

Clare County Council said a flood warning remains in place along the lower River Shannon because of the increasing levels of water in the Shannon system.

"The areas concerned are O'Briensbridge/Montpelier, Clonlara, Westbury and Shannon Banks," said a spokesman.

"The emergency services are continuing to monitor the situation, in conjunction with the ESB."

Waterways Ireland said large parts of the Shannon and canals from Leitrim to Lough Derg were at record heights.

Its gauges in Athlone showed river levels at 39.2m, a half metre over the previous record, and leaving only 10cm between water either side of the lock.

Lough Ree was almost 40cm above the record height at 39.5m.

Gauges on Lough Allen were also reported at 4.28m, 30cm above the record from 2000 which saw the biggest flood in 40 years.

"We are now exceeding all known records," a spokeswoman for the agency said.

Engineers at Waterways Ireland, who predicted peak water levels would hit areas today, warned they may not be able to accurately gauge when highest levels strike.

Limerick County Council also warned that water levels in the lower River Shannon will rise further during the day.

A spokesman said residential areas downstream from Parteen Weir to Limerick city, including Castleconnell and Montpelier, are at risk.

The council urged householders in flood prone areas to have a plan ready in case conditions deteriorate, to check on any elderly or infirm neighbour, and be vigilant with children around water.

"The actions that can be undertaken immediately prior to a flood can reduce damages and protect you and your family," the spokesman added.