herald

Tuesday 19 June 2018

€160M bill as floods expected to follow snow and ice chaos

A man walks through the empty streets in the centre of Dublin
A man walks through the empty streets in the centre of Dublin

The Beast from the East cost the country upwards of €160m as the storm wreaks havoc on businesses and transport services.

Senior industry sources told the Herald that the economic cost to shops, restaurants and bars will be around €80m each day as the nation went into shutdown yesterday, continuing across the whole of today.

Transport companies such as Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Bus Eireann and Luas have all effectively been in shutdown since early yesterday.

Both bus companies closed entirely yesterday and today.

Irish Rail and Dublin Bus are both understood to be set to incur revenue losses for fares of around €600,000 for each day - working out at €1.2m each over the course of the two days.

Chaos

This could rise by a further million if the travel chaos continues into the weekend - with flooding expected to be added to further impending snow and sleet in the capital today.

Bus Eireann is anticipating revenue losses of around €250,000 for the two days without any services.

Insurance Ireland says it is too difficult to estimate damage costs of this latest blizzard.

However, the last big freezes in Ireland in January and December 2010 worked out at €297m and €224m respectively.

Public transport will once again be at a standstill today with all Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Luas operations cancelled for the day.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair have suspended all flights until tomorrow, and Dublin Airport says it's "unlikely" any flights will take off today.

Dublin Bus expects to operate services tomorrow, dependent on road and weather conditions

Irish Rail services will not resume until tomorrow, and Luas will conduct a review at midday today in relation to a resumption of services.

There are also huge concerns that the nation will swap snow worries for flood concerns, with tidal warnings in place for Dublin and the eastern seaboard.

Dublin has already seen problems with Irish Rail's Dart southbound services suspended yesterday due to flooding at both Salthill and Dun Laoghaire.

The 'Beast' is travelling in from the Irish Sea - and when it meets with Storm Emma there will be 'climatic chaos' on a scale for which we have no real precedent.

Storm surges allied with high spring tides will bring a danger of coastal flooding.

"This will create conditions which underline our advice not to venture outdoors while these conditions persist," Sean Hogan, the chair of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, told the Herald.

Irish Water Safety also warned people to be extremely careful near streams, rivers and exposed coastal areas - with melted snow volumes likely to see many waterways surge to near flood levels.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) warned that its advisory notice over high tides will remain in place until Monday.

Surge

"OPW continues to monitor sea levels and storm surge conditions over the coming days," OPW official Jim Casey said.

"The highest tides will be on Friday and Saturday, especially the first tides.

"The following locations are considered most at risk - Cork city and harbour area, and the low-lying areas on the Cork and Waterford county coastlines," he said.

"On the east coast, Dundalk Bay, Dublin Bay, Wexford harbour area and Wicklow. On the south-west, the Shannon estuary and Limerick city.

"The critical time (today) is high water at 5.30am in Cork harbour and city, 11.30am in Dundalk, 7am in Wexford, the Shannon Estuary and Limerick."

The main risk of tidal flooding will be at 5am and 6pm today, 6am and 6.45pm tomorrow, 7am and 7.23pm on Sunday, and 7.45am on Monday.

Local authorities have urged property owners in low-lying areas to take note of the spring tide warnings.

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