Ireland's arctic freeze is over but now floods threaten the country once again. Severe flooding is expected in the low lying and coastal areas of Ireland with a very wet weather forecast predicted. The thaw will please motorists, but the cold ground has been unable to absorb rainwater.

Conditions are so bad in Cork that Cork County Council has requested the help of the Irish Army. The army was deployed yesterday to help build flooding defenses in Skibbereen as major inundation is expected there.

The army is currently transporting police and medical personnel around the county until the last of the ice thaws.

Sand bags are also being distributed to householders and businesses in Skibbereen. Ireland's Civil Defence has established a command center in the middle of the town.

Local councilor Brendan Leahy said that "people are panicking" and that the town was hit hard by flooding last November and on New Years Eve.

Public transport services have warned of serious disruptions to their services.

However, Cork Airport has re-opened after a 16-hour closure.

The Minister of Education Batt O'Keeffe reversed his decision to close all state schools until Thursday. It is now up to individual schools to decide whether or not their school is accessible to students.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen said it was "very heartening to see a great sense of community spirit evolve from the weather crisis."

The Minister of Environment John Gormley has warned that water supplies are running dangerously low in Dublin, Sligo and Cork, and he has asked householders not to turn of their taps and not to leave water running.

Heavy flooding has hit Dublin and Kildare