Odd Factors Combine in Flooding


This morning’s flooding of the lower lying parts of the town has been described as the worst and most surprising in nearly 40 years.

The River Maine was up to the eyes of the bridges along the town stretches and it banked in several areas.

The flooding at Tullig and Townbee would appear to be caused by the Glounsharoon River and this has been giving periodic trouble down through the years.

The mild stream – which ambles away down by the side of the Glebe Lodge Residential Centre towards the River Maine – became a raging, bank-bursting flood by the time it got to Tullig.

It flooded the Walsh Farm Machinery premises there and threatened several of the nearby houses. Fortunately the houses there escaped and many only by inches.

Mark Walsh pointed out a ‘high water mark’ on the wall of the garage which is there since 2008; this morning’s flooding came to within an inch of it.

It is thought that an odd combination of factors worked together to create the havoc which also saw many people along Church Street marooned in their houses with the water, again, only inches away from their doors.

More odd again is the fact that this happened almost out of the blue. There was an early morning, basketball coaching session at the community centre. One of the coaches parked his car in front of the centre – and all seemed in order and he went inside. He returned to get something from the car some 15 minutes later and the road outside had become a ‘river of water’ which flowed into and down past the community college on its roundabout way back to the river.

The local community college and Talbot Grove Treatment Centre also had narrow escapes as their grounds flooded and the waters lapped only inches away from their doors.

A local Civil Defence crew and the fire service ferried sand bags into the front and back doors of house in both areas.

Local knowledge on the part of the firemen allowed them to pump water away from several houses in Tullig and into a dyke at the backs of the houses there.

There was widespread praise for the crews of both emergency services. Cllr. Danny Healy-Rae also came in for praise as he appeared at dawn on foot of a phone call from a resident in Tullig. And he was seen shouldering sandbags later below around Townbee.

More that one person mentioned ‘Climate Change’ in the course of the morning. While several river watchers wondered why this level of rain should suddenly flood such a wide area when the river reached those levels several times in recent years. It did so without doing anything like the damage this one did.

People living in the worst hit areas will have some serious questions to ask of their public representatives as canvassing begins for the local and European elections.

A phone call from Cllr. Healy-Rae just now confirmed that he managed to convince the OPW of the gravity of the situation here and they’re sending out a machine and a team to work on the source of the problem immediately.

It was as strange a morning as we’ve seen here since the knocking of JK’s corner nearly a decade ago now.