Flooding in Mountmellick last week has been described as ‘phenomenal’ by Laois Civil Defence.
The Ballyfin Road out of Mountmellick was closed all day Friday as water from the nearby River Owenass burst its banks into the fields and across the road.
As many as five or six houses narrowly avoided flooding as the Fire Service pumped out water heading for the buildings.
“The water did get through to the houses, but the Fire Brigade had their pumps going and we were able to get the people in and out of their houses.
“It was phenomenal, the whole area from the Slieve Blooms down into Mountmellick and Portarlington was flooded. There was nothing that anyone could have done to have prevented it. There was so much rain in such little time, the volume of rain that fell was phenomenal. The big problem is the water coming down off the Slieve Blooms, but we can’t do anything about that,” he said.
The Ballyfin Road and Mountmellick to Mountrath Road did not re-open until Friday evening, but Mr Preston said some people did chance driving through the floods.
“The water was fairly deep and some did drive through it, but there was fields underwater last week, that I’ve never seen flooded before.”
He said the Civil Defences role during the unseasonal weather last week was to maintain communication with people in bother and monitor flooding hotspots.
“There was between 15-18 of us out. We had sandbags and just using the jeeps. The fire brigade saved a lot of houses. There probably was other areas that flooded, but they weren’t reported to us,” he said.
Mountmellick’s councillors were also on flood alert at their meeting, last week.
“We are seeing a lot more heavy rain,” noted chairman Cllr Pat Bowe at Mountmellick Town Council monthly meeting last Thursday evening.
He stressed the need to keep a very close eye on areas that were prone to flooding. Agreeing, Cllr Paddy Bracken said council staff had been out surveying areas of potential flood risk.
Cllr Marc Connolly complimented the Barrow Drainage Board on its remedial work.
Councillors raised their concerns once again at the Mountmellick Area Meeting on Monday morning.
Referring to global warming, Cllr Pat Bowe said: “Unfortunately we are looking at a situation where this will occur more. We have to ensure water doesn’t get into people’s houses”
He said there was flooding in Clonterry, Mountmellick as well as Derrycloney, where he believed water got inside the house of one local resident.
Cllr Paddy Bracken thanked Laois County Council, the Civil Defence and the Fire brigade for their efforts.
“They were out Thursday night, all day Friday, Friday night. I want to acknowledge the co-ordination of the three services,”
Portarlingtion was also hit by flooding with the peoples park and other green areas badly hit. There were no reports of threats to houses or flooded roads.