FLOOD ALERT - sandbags dispatched to Portarlington on Laois Offaly border #flooding

flooding mountmellick portarlington

Sandbags dispatched to Mountmellick.

Sandbags have been dispatched to the Laois Offaly border as Portarlington takes steps to hold off a flood surge that has already hit Mountmellick.

A lorry load of sandbags were unloaded at Spa Street around at 8pm on Wednesday, November 22. Bags have been placed outside houses in the area which is located on the banks of the River Barrow.

Two units of the Laois County Fire and Rescue Service were also on the scene this evening preparing the area for expected flooding. With rain still falling, residents fear the worst for what might happen overnight. 

Because of its location on the Barrow, Portarlington has a history of flooding.  Mountmellick flooded today after the River Owenass and another small river burst their banks as a result of a surge of water caused by heavy rain in the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The Owenass and the second river a tributaries  of the Barrow upstream of Portarlington so the risk of flooding is high. The Barrow also rises in the mountains.

Laois County Council set up an Incident Team to respond to the Mountmellick flooding on Wednesday afternoon. It subsequently put Portarlington on alert. 

"Laois County Council wish to advise residents in the Portarlington area that levels in the River Barrow are high as a result of the recent heavy rainfall and are expected to rise further over the next six hours.

"Residents in areas vulnerable to flooding should take sensible precautions," they said.

Willie Murphy from Portarlington said that experience says flooding is expected.

"The Botley Lane area is closed, there is extensive flooding on the People's Park and on land the other side of the river. The Fire Service was on duty at Foxcroft street this morning and in the Killenard area there was a lot of water on land," he said.

There is also a report of serious flooding in an area known locally as the red irons near the first railway bridge on the Portlaoise Road.

Large tracts of farmland around Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick are flooded. 

WATCH: Mountmellick under water as people are evacuated from homes and businesses are flooded.

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