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Saturday 24 February 2018

Blizzards, floods and gales to sweep across the country

Flooding in Blackpool Co Cork
Flooding in Blackpool Co Cork
Traffic chaos on the M11 due to tailbacks from flooding. Photo: Ray Cullen
Clearing the flooding at Avondale Road, Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Ray Cullen
High seas at Sandycove. Photo: Ray Cullen
Roads this morning in Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Courtesy of @GroryJohn
A snow plough clears the Carnlough to Ballymena road in Co Antrim after a heavy snowfall
Traffic gridlock in Ballybrack Village, trying to avoid flood on the M11 at Bray. Photo: Ray Cullen

Treacy Hogan

Homes and businesses in Cork are this morning assessing the damage following severe flash flooding.

Motorists around the country are this morning being warned to take extra care as many routes are proving particularly dangerous with spot flooding and surface water.

And there’s more bad weather on the way with the country set to be battered by more blizzards, floods and gales as the day goes on.

Floods hit localised areas last night where high tides combined with torrential rain.

Worst hit was Blackpool, Co Cork where drains failed to cope with the deluge with floods subsequently hitting the Watercourse Road and parts of the Commons Road.

A total of 16 homes and businesses were hit by last night’s flooding, the majority of which have no flood insurance.

The floods are the third in four years to hit Blackpool.

The damage was blamed on a culvert which apparently became blocked and couldn’t cope with the volume of water.

Cork City Manager Tim Lucey said the culvert had been checked over the course of Thursday evening.

But a large quantity of debris was washed down into the culvert by the volume of water, partially blocking it and triggering flooding within just 15 minutes.

The floods receded almost immediately once the culvert had been cleared with special grappling equipment.

Flooding is also reported along some city quays with Cork fire brigade and city council crews working to assist residents and traders with special pumping equipment.

A blocked culvert was also blamed for catastrophic flash floods in Cork city last year which resulted in major damage to homes and businesses in Douglas.

Flooding was also reported along some city quays with Cork fire brigade and city council crews working to assist residents and traders. Dublin and other eastern coastal areas are also at risk because of gale-force winds.

Motorists are being warned to look out for spot floods around Dublin and other parts of Leinster.

Parts of the M11 were closed this morning but have since re-opened. Delays are expected for motorists.

Southbound traffic on the M50 is being diverted at J16 Cherrywood.

Motorists are advised to watch out for a fallen cable on Church Rd in Celbridge following high winds overnight.

Meanwhile, unseasonal snow and sleet will also cause blizzards and drifts over Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal and other areas due to the strong winds today.

18,000 homes in the North have been left without power following snowfall overnight.

The George Best Belfast City Airport's runway is closed and Belfast International Airport has warned that its flights may also be affected by the weather.

A snow and ice weather warning is expected to remain in place until Sunday evening.

Wet and windy weather in the south-west is due to spread countrywide, accompanied by snow.

Sleet or snow will continue over Ulster, according to Met Eireann.

Under the new Met Eireann colour-coded weather warning system, there is an orange snow and ice warning for Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal.

This is a warning to people living in these counties to prepare to be affected "significantly" by the conditions.

A yellow rainfall warning is in place Munster, Connacht and Leinster, indicating a risk to people living in high-risk flood locations.

It will be bitterly cold tonight and windy over Ulster and north Leinster with spells of rain, sleet and snow, and the bad weather is set to continue over the weekend.

Met Eireann said tomorrow would bring little change as it stays bitterly cold over Ulster and northeast Leinster with further spells of sleet and snow as temperatures stay in the low single figures in a blustery east to south-east winds.

Irish Ferries has cancelled its Swift sailings due to the extreme weather, but passengers are being accommodated on other sailings.

More than 44,000 homes and businesses in Northern Ireland have been left without power after the region was battered by snow, sleet and storm force winds overnight.

The damage to the network was concentrated in south and eastern areas, and also parts of the North Coast, operator Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said.

George Best Belfast City Airport has reopened its runway after being earlier forced to close due to the weather, while flights at Belfast International Airport have also been disrupted.

More than 70 schools in the region have been forced to shut for the day while commuters have faced hazardous conditions on the roads.

The Roads Service said more than 300 staff in 130 gritters were on stand-by to salt main roads last night.

"Most routes have been salted three times overnight with snow ploughing necessary on many routes," a spokesman said.

Snow drifts of up to 15.7in (40cm) have been reported.

Northern Ireland's World Cup football qualifying fixture against Russia tonight is also in doubt.

Kick-off is due to take place at 7.45pm.

The Irish Football Association said a decision would be made after a pitch inspection and assessment of the South Belfast stadium later today.

If the match does not go ahead tonight, the IFA is looking at the possibility of playing it tomorrow.

NIE said hundreds of additional engineers had been deployed to deal with the effects of the 55 mph winds and snow.

A spokeswoman for NIE said power lines had been hit by flying debris and affected by lying snow.

"Right across Northern Ireland the high winds and snow in the east have affected electricity supplies," she said.

"We have quite a few faults on our high-voltage network and that is affecting the highest volume of customers.

"We will be doing our level best to restore all faults as quickly as possible."

Tomorrow’s race meeting at Gowran Park has been abandoned while slight doubt has been cast over the GAA’s Annual Congress which is due to take place this weekend in Derry.

Irish Independent

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