Thursday, 4 November 2004

Questions (55)

Dan Neville

Question:

32 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he is satisfied that sufficient warning was given to residents and commuters in Cork city and county of the flooding that occurred there in late October 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27557/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Indications of the storm which affected Ireland on 27 and 28 October were given by Met Éireann in its media broadcasts as early as 24 October. Once sufficient degree of certainty of the forecast had been established, Met Éireann issued a severe weather warning to all local authorities and to the media at 10 o'clock on Tuesday, October 26. I understand that public warnings on foot of this would have emanated from local authorities and media in the areas at risk.

The warning covered both Wednesday, 27 and Thursday, 28 October and forecast rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres, with parts of Munster and Leinster having possible totals of up to 80 millimetres. Strong winds of up to 55 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 70 to 80 miles per hour were forecast. The warning specifically mentioned that high seas and high tides would lead to coastal flooding, particularly in the south and east of the country.

At 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, October 28, an update to the severe weather warning was issued, forecasting a continuation of the heavy rain and strong winds in the south and east.

I consider that the forecasts issued by Met Éireann were appropriate and professional in terms of the conditions predicted, the areas predicted to be at most risk and the advance warning given. I have also asked my Department to review the recent episode to determine if any further improvement in our warning system can be made.