WEATHER HISTORY Flooding In Ireland - November 2009

Claregalway, Galway, in Nov 2009. Pic Peter Gallagher

Some of the worst flooding in living memory affected parts of Cork, Clare, Galway, and Westmeath, Limerick in late November 2009.   

The Event: 
    * Minister for the Environment John Gormley described the flooding as the worst in "800 years”.
    * The centre of Cork was flooded by the River Lee to a depth of 1 metre (3 ft 3 in), and the nearby towns of Bandon, Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Skibbereen were inaccessible.
    * 40 families at Ballinasloe in County Galway had to be evacuated by boat after the River Suck burst its banks.
    * The floods caused €141m in damages to Cork city alone
    * In Northern Ireland, the low-lying areas around the River Bann in County Armagh as well as the Strabane, Ards, Cookstown, Lisburn and Magherafelt districts were affected by flooding
    * Thousands of homes across the country were affected by water boil notices, and over 40,000 homes were left without any water supply.  In Cork City, over 18,000 homes on the city's north and inner south-sides were left without water for up to ten days.
    * The water level of Lough Derg broke all previous records on 26 November

One of the wettest summers on record was followed by a series of Atlantic weather systems in the first half of November which resulted in rainfall records being broken at observation stations throughout Ireland.  Valentia recorded 360mm of rainfall during the month.

 (Click on image to enlarge)

Above, is a graph compiled by Patrick Gordon showing percentage of normal rainfall for each November between 1941 and 2009 at the station, which illustrates how outstanding the rainfall % was in November 2009 compared to previous November values. 
Met Eireann rainfall table for Nov 09, compiled by Patrick Gordon

(Click on image to enlarge)

* See bottom of article for HiLAM synoptic analysis charts and other statistical for the period in question.

    An Irish Government report into the flooding concluded:
    • The Government should oversee an independent review of ESB’s hydro-electrical schemes to clarify whether they should remain under its control.
    • The Office of Public Works should set up an early warning systems for all major rivers at risk of flooding.
    • Local authorities should develop a database of people at risk of floods or severe weather, and include an annual budget for drainage and river maintenance.
    • ESB should be included in councils’ major emergency management frameworks with "immediate effect".


    Images of the serious flooding which affected County Clare may be viewed below.  Click on each image for a larger view. Images courtesy of Clare County Council.
    Ennis Town Centre

    Flooding in the Burren


    Flooding in Corofin and Environs

    The bridge at Killaloe/Ballina

    Skehanagh roundabout

    Garroga Lake Our Ladys Hospital, Ennis

    Flooding at Ardnataggle, OBriensbridge

    Quin Road Area of Ennis

    Email your videos or pictures of the flooding in November 2009 to

    HiLAM synoptic analysis charts (KNMI) and further statistical data provided by Patrick Gordon

    Click on images for a larger view