Severe weather alert as Storm Desmond slams into the coast
Emergency services were on standby last night as Storm Desmond crashed into the west of Ireland, knocking out power lines and bringing flood warnings to many areas.
Met Éireann issued an unprecedented five weather alerts, including the most serious Status Red warning for heavy rain for Connacht, Clare, Kerry and Donegal.
The same counties were also included in a Status Orange wind warning with gusts of up to 140kmh expected overnight, with separate Status Yellow alerts for wind and rain across the rest of the country.
ESB emergency crews worked in terrible conditions restoring power to thousands of customers in Kerry, Cork, Galway and Donegal.
Gardaí and Coast Guard officials set up emergency response centres last night to deal with the storm which grew in ferocity after dark.
Flood warnings were issued on several rivers, including the Finn and the Swilly in Co Donegal.
Local authorities placed Civil Defence volunteers, fire crews and staff on standby to deal with the emergency.
Trees blocked a number of roads, including the N4 between Longford and Carrick-on-Shannon.
Most of the rainfall warnings remain in place until 6pm this evening, with the red alert affecting western counties in place until 3am on Sunday.
Local authorities warned that flooding this weekend was inevitable given warnings of rainfall between 70mm and 150mm.
Clare Co Council senior engineer Paul Moroney said: "All river systems throughout the county are very elevated following continued heavy rainfall in recent weeks. Streams and rivers in high ground or mountainous areas of Clare may burst their banks, leading to a heightened risk of flooding for adjoining lands."
Donegal County Council issued several warnings to the public, including one last night urging homeowners living in areas prone to flooding to take all measures to protect their properties.
A charity football match between Donegal and Derry at Letterkenny's Coláiste Ailigh scheduled for this afternoon was cancelled.
In Galway, the council asked the public to stay away from the promenade in Salthill as waves crashed over the sea wall.