10/03/2008

Storm Warning From Water Safety Boss

It's not quite 'Beware The Ides Of March', but the boss of the Irish body charged with water safety matters has warned of serious dangers from this week's storms - which have brought the second week of March surging in.

John Leech, Chief Executive Officer of Irish Water Safety has urged the public to be cautious and vigilant on Monday and Tuesday as flooding and high wave risks increase.

He said that the confluence of a New Moon and an intense area of low pressure approaching Ireland is going to produce high tides and large waves with rivers rising due to the high level of rain forecast by Met Eireann.

"Irish Water Safety warns people living in low lying areas or areas that have suffered flooding in the past to be alert and vigilant to flooding," he said.

"Surfers, anglers and walkers are asked to avoid coastal areas during Monday and to be very cautious approaching the coastline on Tuesday and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

"Surfers may perceive the predicted waves coupled with the approach of Spring Tides as an exciting challenge," he continued.

"However, the conditions will only allow the most competent, experienced and physically fit surfers to enjoy this surf on Tuesday at the earliest.

"Novice or less experienced surfers should not under any circumstances surf in the early part of this week."

He also explained that anglers will be at risk - especially foreign nationals who should be extremely vigilant to the large Atlantic swell - which is dramatically different to that experienced on the relatively calmer Baltic Sea, which they are more familiar with.

Walkers along the West Coast should also remain cautious and vigilant at all times as ordinarily familiar pathways close to the coastline will be at risk of being washed over by these large waves.

Finally, he said that boating enthusiasts should not go to sea when gale warnings are in operation.

(BMcC)




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