An overall view of the River Shannon flowing into Athlone Town: the National Emergency Coordination Centre has said there is a high risk.RollingNews.ie

Towns along the River Shannon are still feeling the effects of recent extreme bad weather, with further rain possibly flooding areas that are not yet under water.

According to Ireland's national weather service Met Éireann, there may be further “nasty” weather in the coming week, with the possibility of orange rain warnings for the south and southwest over the weekend.

Weather forecaster Gerald Fleming said at a briefing of the National Emergency Coordination Committee that there is no immediate danger as of yet, although it may develop into a serious weather event.

Air corps pictures over the Shannon area during Storm Desmond. Image: Air Corps/Photocall Ireland.

Air corps pictures over the Shannon area during Storm Desmond. Image: Air Corps/Photocall Ireland.

“There will be above normal rainfall over the course of the next six or seven days,” Fleming said.

“At the moment none of the individual events are at the orange status serious warnings level, but we’ll have to keep a very close eye on that because a couple of the events have the potential to get there.

“We’re in a situation where a number of those rain events have the potential to turn nasty, and potentially they could cause flooding in areas where there has been no flooding so far if that were to happen.”

Regions along the banks of the Shannon, Ireland’s longest river, are still battling with flooding caused by Storm Desmond over a week ago, with flood levels in the Lower Shannon area, from Lough Derg to Limerick City, only expected to reach their peak on Tuesday.

An overall view of the River Shannon flowing into Athlone Town. Image: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland.

An overall view of the River Shannon flowing into Athlone Town. Image: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland.

Although areas in the upper Shannon catchment have seen a 1.1 inch (3 cm) fall in flood waters, the mid-Shannon area, including the town of Athlone, will see flood waters continue to rise over the the first few days of the week, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Jim Casey from the OPW said, “That rate of rise is about half of what we were observing yesterday in the central catchment area … so an improvement there in the rate of rise, it has slowed down, but I would stress that the levels have still risen and we are still in a severe flood situation on the Shannon catchment.”

The Corbally area of Limerick City has been severely affected by the flood waters as the nearby canal rose to “an unanticipated high level” because of “significant water” in the Mulcair, Blackwater and Shannon rivers.

As the water levels of the Shannon rises towards peak level, the ESB (Electric Supply Board) will increase the flow of water through the Parteen Weir to 440 cubic meters per second.

A nature walk in Athlone Town becomes a real wildlife area as it is flooded by the Shannon River. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

A nature walk in Athlone Town becomes a real wildlife area as it is flooded by the Shannon River. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

It is believed that this increase will lead to further flooding of roads, land and property downstream of the weir. This will include the areas of Springfield, Montpelier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon, Lisnagry and the University of Limerick.

Companies and individuals have petitioned the Irish Department of Social Protection’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme in a bid to begin the recovery. Latest estimates show that 100 flood victims have applied for the scheme which facilitates access to food, clothing, water and temporary accommodation for those affected.

The same number of companies have applied for help from the Government’s $5.5 million (€5 million) flood relief program established to help traders.

Athlone turns into Venice as the residents wake up to the news that the mighty Shannon River did not reach its peak during the night. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

Athlone turns into Venice as the residents wake up to the news that the mighty Shannon River did not reach its peak during the night. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

The Irish Farmers’ Association has called on the Government to provide a similar flood relief program for farmers whose land is affected.

Despite claims by the Westmeath County Council that the river is 24 inches (60 cm) above its normal winter flow levels, flooding in the county has been kept at bay with the exception of three houses flooded last week.

Warnings last week suggested that 100s of houses within Athlone, one of the largest towns along the river, would be affected by flood water, but the Council insist that only a small portion of the town has been affected and that shopping areas especially remain flood-free, encouraging shoppers to return to the town as Christmas draws closer.

A large sandbag barrier at the entrance to the Deerpark and Park areas of Athlone Town. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

A large sandbag barrier at the entrance to the Deerpark and Park areas of Athlone Town. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

“All of the roads and streets are open, all car parks are clear and all of the shops, hotels, bars and restaurants are open for business and will remain open in the normal fashion,” the council said.

It is reported that Shannon water levels have not been this high since 2009.

"In all other rivers, the water levels have been in decline, but the Shannon has continued to rise," Sean Hogan, chairman of Ireland’s National Emergency Coordination Group, told the BBC last week.

An overall view of the River Shannon flowing into Athlone Town. Image: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland.

An overall view of the River Shannon flowing into Athlone Town. Image: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland.

"One fifth of the country drains through the Shannon down the Limerick and that's a slow river in hydrological terms so it will probably be a full seven days before the water clears from last weekend.

"Unfortunately, the mid to lower Shannon reaches, that's from Athlone down to Limerick are still rising and it's not yet at 2009 flood levels yet, but it is approaching those,” he continued.

There are currently no weather warnings in place in Ireland but a Status Yellow marine warning is still in effect.

Families have been warned that it may take some weeks for the flood waters to recede even if the Shannon reached peak water level on Tuesday.

Dawn in Athlone, with a brief appearance blue skies and sunshine as the residents wake up to the news that the mighty Shannon River did not reach its peak during the night. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.

Dawn in Athlone, with a brief appearance blue skies and sunshine as the residents wake up to the news that the mighty Shannon River did not reach its peak during the night. Image: Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland.