Tuesday 26 September 2017

Weather warning issued as heavy rainfall predicted

A motorist battles the elements in Crusheen, Co Clare
A motorist battles the elements in Crusheen, Co Clare
The scene on Wexford Street at midnight last night. Photo: Abie Philbin Bowman
Trinity front archway flooded
Dublin's iconic retail store Clerys' suffered severe roof damage, leading to its partial collapse
Dublin's iconic retail store Clerys' suffered severe roof damage, leading to its partial collapse
Dublin's iconic retail store Clerys' suffered severe roof damage, leading to its partial collapse

Brian Hutton and Lyndsey Telford

FORECASTERS have warned of another night of heavy rain and thunderstorms after an overnight deluge unleashed flash floods across the country.

As Met Eireann issued an orange weather warning predicting more than 30mm of rain, a water-damaged Clerys department store in Dublin announced it is to remain closed in the coming days.

Parts of the roof of the landmark O'Connell Street store fell through shortly after midnight last night, prompting bosses to order an examination into the extent of the destruction.

Heavy downpours are expected again tonight in Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Longford, Louth, Westmeath and Meath - bringing rainfall amounts to more than 30mm in a six-hour period.

Thousands of homes were left with no power following last night's stormy weather, but ESB crews worked through the morning to restore electricity.

Around 2,000 households in Fermoy, Co Cork, were affected and 900 homes in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

There was also damage to the roof of the Mater Hospital in Dublin, but no one was injured.

A small number of patients in the high dependency unit of the hospital were temporarily moved to other beds to allow for repairs.

Houses and businesses in Middleton in Co Cork also suffered overnight flooding. The town's main street and Ballinacurra village were worst hit.

In the capital, DART services between Bray and Greystones were cancelled because of lightning damage.

Eoin Sherlock, weather forecaster with Met Eireann, said last night's heavy downpours were very localised.

"On paper, it just looks like it was a wet night, but that rain fell in a very short period of time and it was very intense," he said.

"This was very localised," said Mr Sherlock.

The forecaster said the weather system was moving north through the country, and Ulster and north Leinster would be most at risk from continuing thunderstorms and heavy downpours.

Dublin Fire Brigade took around 100 calls through the night and had all units deployed for a two-hour period from around 12.30am.

Call-outs were for flooding reports, leakages and automatic fire alarms going off at houses, flats and businesses.

A spokesman for the fire brigade said: "We've had no rain for 16 days and suddenly a deluge for 16 minutes causes all this trouble.

"There were fire alarms going off all over the city - again caused by the thunder and lightning."

He confirmed there were no injuries as a result of the weather.

Dublin City Council said its drainage crews responded to a number of minor incidents, including a small number of flooded basements.

"There were no major flooding incidents in Dublin city," a spokeswoman said.

"There was some road flooding which drainage crews attended to but these abated quickly."

Affected areas included the city centre, Ballybough, North Circular Road, Wexford Street and Trinity College Dublin.

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