Video: Floods and storms cause chaos, with more on way
Published 29/01/2013 | 05:00
FLOODING caused widespread motoring chaos as wind blowing at speeds of up to 120kmh and giant waves lashed the country.
Fallen trees and drenched surfaces made driving dangerous in many areas. Met Eireann issued warnings regarding strong winds and gusts, particularly on Atlantic coasts.
It also warned of exceptionally high waves on western coasts, bringing coastal flooding – especially at times of high tide – with gale-force winds of up to 120kmh.
Motorists were warned that many roads were flooded due to persistent heavy rainfall, which is set to continue throughout the week. A combination of high tides, storm surges and winds caused localised flooding in most regions.
Irish Water Safety chief executive John Leech warned the public of the increased risk around the coastline over the next few days.
The combination of high tides as a result of the full moon on Sunday, low pressure out in the Atlantic and gale-force winds made walking along the coastline particularly dangerous, Mr Leech said.
He recommended that walkers stay away from piers, rivers, and promenades for the rest of the week. He said motorists needed to be vigilant for floods on the roads, the depth of which may not be easily determined.
"Swift water will carry cars and other vehicles away and there have been very tragic drownings in the past as a result," he warned.
Mr Leech said parents should warn children that:
• The depth of floodwater can be deceptive.
• Manhole covers may be left open by floods.
• And streams when swollen become very fast and deep.
Issuing a storm alert, Met Eireann said that southerly winds would gust to between 90 and 120kmh and there would be widespread rain this morning, accompanied by strong and gusty southerly winds.
Tomorrow will be cool with further heavy rain, mainly affecting western counties, but some may be carried further east on the fresh south-west winds. Very strong south-west winds will veer westerly later in the night.
The unsettled conditions will continue into the weekend with showers on Friday and then rain later on Saturday. Daytime temperatures will range from five to nine degrees, while frost may develop at night.
Train services were also affected by the weather, and the 12.45 Heuston/Westport service was delayed for 45 minutes due to a signal fault at Clara caused by lightning in the area.
A piece of roof flashing on the Aviva Stadium that came loose during strong winds led to the closure of Lansdowne Road for up to an hour yesterday as a precautionary measure.
Crews were able to secure the flashing without further incident and the road re-opened a short time later.
High winds caused a tree to topple on to the roof of an office in Dublin.
Drivers were coping with debris being blown on to roads in the Dublin area, as strong winds also caused a tree to fall on to a white modern office that houses an firm of architects in the Abbeyfield area of Killester, north Dublin.
The tree appeared to land against the flat roofed part of the house in the gale force winds but didn't appear to crush through the roof cladding to cause extensive damage.
There was no answer at the house, where the lights remained off and there were no reports of any injuries.
In Wicklow, excess surface water was a problem through Bray, Wicklow town and on the Arklow bypass following heavy and persistent rain and 120kmh gusts.
Fallen trees temporarily blocked a number of roads in Kildare including Monaster-evin/Athy, Naas to Ballymore Eustace and Rathangan to Bracknagh.
AA Roadwatch said gardai were warning that although the Carlow to Tullow road was passable, extreme care was needed because of flooding.
There was spot flooding in parts along the N3 between Cavan town and Belturbet, particularly at Kilduff.
In Cork, torrential rain throughout the morning resulted in heavy surface water on many secondary roads. Some of the worst-affected areas included outside Kanturk village where the road between John's Bridge and Freemount Cross was impassable to traffic for a period of time after lunch.
There was also some flooding in the village of Coachford, near Macroom. Cork city escaped largely unscathed.
In Kerry, torrential rain, whipped up by violent gusts of up to 100kmh, caused consternation with severe flooding in several towns and villages.
Kerry County Council put the county on full alert after a persistent downpour shortly before dawn made driving conditions hazardous.
The public were advised to avoid coastal areas where exceptionally high waves and strong winds caused real danger,
Killarney took a real battering with the River Flesk swelling to dangerous levels and rendering the Mill Road area, which links the main Cork and Kenmare routes, out of bounds.
The River Deenagh, which flows through the national park at Knockreer, burst its banks and the entire park was impassable for much of the afternoon, while park rangers had to deal with the debris from an ancient beech tree which was uprooted in the storm and sent crashing into the river.
The road from Dingle to Slea Head was also extensively flooded but motorists were able to negotiate the route with caution.
Torrential rain and high winds led to heavy flooding across Galway city with a number of routes left impassable.
A health hazard developed when raw sewage flowed after drain covers burst open.
Cllr Neil McNeilis, who operates a jewellery and gift store in the Spanish Arch, said that considerable disruption was caused.
"The sewage situation caused a serious problem but the city council and fire brigade crews were superb in dealing with the issue," added Cllr McNeilis.
The school run across Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal was particularly treacherous as high winds and heavy rain hit the north-west from dawn.
It followed overnight power outages in Killybegs, Creeslough and Letterkenny.