independent

Friday 18 April 2014

No reprieve: now blizzards to follow torrential rain

Heavy rain and bad weather conditions at the forty foot, Sandycove, in Dublin

FROM torrential rain to bitter cold. A national weather warning remains in place as the country braces itself for more damage and disruption.

Wild and wet weather that has already battered most areas is unlikely to ease significantly over the coming days.

A spokesperson for Met Eireann confirmed that the rain was also expected to turn to sleet and snow, with a blizzard warning in place for northern parts.

The snow-ice warning was issued for Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal, and wintry weather is also expected to hit parts of Leinster. Eastern coastal areas are also at risk of strong, gale-force winds.

Flash floods yesterday caused havoc for motorists nationwide, while heavy rains have left shopowners in Cork with a costly clean-up for the second time in eight months.

Some of the worst-hit areas were the M11 north of Bray, the M1 south of Balbriggan, roads in Enniskerry and the Woodenbridge/ Aughrim Road in Co Wicklow.

Councils were under pressure as the deluge began – before up to 30mm of rain fell in the space of 24 hours.

This was recorded at Dublin Airport – average rainfall there is usually 50mm for an entire month. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council had crews of workers on the roads from 4 yesterday morning attempting to deal with the continual flooding.

"Our crews have been down there looking at where we can pump the water.

Problems

"The streams we would usually divert it to are already at capacity and we are trying to identify other areas where we can divert the water that won't cause problems further down the line," said a spokesperson.

Sean O'Neill of the NRA said the flooding on the motorway was not as a result of blocked drains but had been caused by a deluge of water and debris flowing down from the Dublin mountains.

"The main problem is the run-off from the Dublin mountains. It's flowing straight across the motorway and it's bringing bits of trees, bark and rock with it.

"The drains are handling the water that is on the motorway but this debris is the real hazard.

"It is a firefighting situation, we're dealing with it as it's happening," he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny backed local authorities to deal with further weather chaos over the weekend.

"Every local authority in the country has its plan for exceptional weather conditions, be it rain or snow, wind or whatever.

Wicklow County Council has issued a flood alert for the Greystones and Enniskerry areas until Monday and had crews out from first thing yesterday.

Residents in the Old Connaught area of Bray also suffered flood damage to their homes as the water levels rose in the area.

Locals in both areas blamed blocked culverts for the damage. Crews were also on alert across Dublin.

The Dodder river in Dublin rose by six inches within a two-hour period yesterday, leading to fears that the surrounding areas could be hit by further flooding.

A number of areas around the country saw homes and businesses flooded as a result of the persistent heavy rain.

Gardai in Waterford closed Bridge Street in the city because of damage to the roof of the Fitzwilton Hotel caused by strong winds.

Gardai advised motorists to remove cars from the quay in Enniscorthy in Co Wexford, after water broke the bank at the promenade before high tide.

DART and bus services experienced some disruption, while Irish Ferries cancelled all its Jonathan Swift fast craft sailings due to adverse weather but said that passengers would be accommodated on other sailings. The RNLI rescued four fishermen from a French fishing trawler, which got into difficulty in the early hours of yesterday morning off the Wicklow coast.

Irish Independent

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