Fermanagh residents and motorists warned over heavy rainfall

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Residents and motorists in Fermanagh are being warned that further flooding is possible as more heavy rain is forecast.

Rivers Agency Chief Executive David Porter said: “Water levels at Upper Lough Erne have stopped rising, at present, and remains approximately 200mm below the levels we saw in 2009. However, the Met Office has advised us that another period of heavy rain is likely on Wednesday and this may cause levels to rise. Twenty roads are already closed due to the flooding.

“Rivers Agency and the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in the south are responsible for controlling the Lough levels and we are working closely to ensure everything can be done to reduce the levels and therefore the impact of any flooding,” he added.

A combination of generation and spilling at the hydroelectric power stations at Cliff and Ballyshannon in Donegal is ongoing to ensure that water can leave the Erne system as quickly as it can flow down to the dams.

“It should, however, be recognised that heavy rain can result in a greater inflow than can possibly be dealt with, even when spilling is in progress. The prolonged rainfall, particularly over the past weekend, has resulted in saturated ground conditions and higher than normal water levels in our lakes and rivers,” Mr Porter continued.

“Rivers Agency will continue to monitor levels, in conjunction with ESB and our other multi agency partners, and will do all it can to minimise flood risk. We are advising residents and motorists in Fermanagh that further flooding is possible as more heavy rain is forecast for Wednesday. People are asked to phone the 24 hour Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100 if they need assistance.”

A TransportNI spokesman said: “Drivers should not enter flood water that is moving or is more than four inches deep and do not, under any circumstances, drive through fast flowing water as your car could be swept away.

“In more shallow but passable water, avoid creating bow waves which can damage your car engine and remember to test your brakes after leaving the water. Drivers should also slow down.”

A NI Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels which can result in serious injury or in the worst cases death.

“We would advise people to keep an eye on weather reports on TV, radio, social media or online and do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary. If you do become stranded in flood water and you feel there is a risk to life dial 999 for emergency assistance.”