Tuesday 23 January 2018

Thunder and lightning storms batter country with 1,000 of homes and businesses still without power

Severe rain causes flooding along the Derry-Buncrana road
Severe rain causes flooding along the Derry-Buncrana road

Greg Harkin & Louise Kelly

Some 1,000 homes and business are still without power this morning after thunder and lightning storms hit Leinster, the midlands and the north-west.

Co Cavan is the worst affected area with some 700 homes still waiting for power to be restored after the storms hit last night.

Around 100 homes in Monaghan and Macroom in Co Cork are also still without electricity - as are scores of properties in Westmeath and Co Donegal.

At the height of the bad weather last night, some 6,000 ESB customers across the country were left without power.

ESB Networks described the lightning strikes as "severe" and said thousands of homes had power supplies cut off.

ESB crews restored power to most homes by 9pm last night.

At one stage yesterday there were 743 lightning strikes every hour across Ireland and western Britain.

A status Orange weather alert remained in place until 1am today but the worst of the storms cleared north Donegal by 8pm.

The first of the storms hit Wexford and Wicklow as flooding partially closed the road between the railway bridge and the harbour in Greystones.

In Longford there were reports of flooding and debris on the N4 Dublin/Sligo Rd between Longford and Edgeworthstown with local gardaí urging extreme care in the area.

Dublin and Wicklow also experienced downpours as thunderstorms moved across the Irish Sea.

Forecasters say there will be further downpours today -  in parts of the east and north - as the weather remains warm and humid.

While thundery weather is likely, some spells of hazy sunshine will develop nationwide during the day.

Read more: Bad news for bathers as four Dublin beaches close due to 'disastrous' pollution

Met Éireann's Evelyn Cusack said the heavy thunderstorms were brought to Ireland by the same weather system which caused havoc in France last week.

"We're going to stay in this warm humid air mass until Thursday with temperatures into the mid-20s," she said.

However, there will be fewer showers on Wednesday and it will be drier and brighter on Thursday with daytime temperatures staying between 21C and 25C.

Nights will be warm and muggy with temperatures falling no lower than 13C.

Peter O'Donnell from Irish Weather Online said temperatures for the start of the Junior and Leaving Cert exams tomorrow could top 26C.

But he agreed normal June temperatures will return for the weekend.

"Friday through to Sunday will bring a more normal temperature regime with highs of about 18-21C and also more frequent showers, or intervals of rain, some of them heavy in parts of the north where 30-50 mm could fall during the period," said O'Donnell.

"The south is expected to remain somewhat dry with 5-15 mm rainfalls."

He added: "Models indicate that this more seasonable weather may hold for the following week, but there are some signs of a much warmer end to June."

The storms in Europe over the weekend saw more than 20 people lose their lives.

Thunderstorms in France left four people dead with Paris seeing its worst floods in decades.

The Seine has started to recede over the past 48 hours.

President Francois Hollande is expected to declare a state of emergency to trigger compensation payments to thousands of people who were forced to leave their homes.

In Belgium authorities say bad weather could have caused a train crash which left three people dead near Liege.

Irish Independent

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