Monday 23 April 2018

Thunderstorms and flash flooding wreak havoc around the country

The scene on Wexford Street at midnight last night. Photo: Abie Philbin Bowman
The scene on Wexford Street at midnight last night. Photo: Abie Philbin Bowman
Trinity front archway flooded
A motorist battles the elements in Crusheen, Co Clare
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

Louise Hogan, Jane Last, Ralph Riegel and Aishling Phelan

Structural damage as a result of the torrential rain has led to the closure of iconic Clerys' department store.

Cork and Dublin were hit by torrential rain, thunderstorms and flash flooding overnight, breaking the long spell of hot weather - with thousands of homes left without electricity.

Clerys' suffered severe roof damage, leading to its partial collapse and the subsequent closure of the department this morning.

Clery's today denied reports that roof repair work may have compromised the ceiling. 

"A damage assessment is being carried out and we hope to have an update at some point today," a spokesperson siad.

The Dublin Fire Brigade responded to the incident during the night and staff gathered outside the O'Connell Street store earlier as they heard the news.

Clerys Commercial Director, Simon Smith said, ‘‘This morning at approximately ten minutes past midnight, the Clerys Department Store on O’Connell Street, Dublin, incurred damage during a heavy period of rainfall combined with thunder and lightning.’’

''A further communication will follow as soon as we are clear on the extent of the damage,'' he added.

The DFB also dealt with incidents of flooding throughout the night in Finglas, Cabra, the city centre at Pearse Street and Victoria Quay, Fairview, North Circular Road and parts of South Dublin.

The roof in the high dependency unit of the Mater Hospital suffered damage as a result of the overnight storm. The front archway of Trinity College in Dublin's city centre has also been flooded.

Most areas saw at least 15mm of rainfall – but this rose to 25mm in some areas. However, rainwater receded overnight.

In east and north Cork, Midleton and Cloyne were badly affected throughout the night with more than 35mm of rainfall recorded in a two-hour deluge between 11pm and 1am.

In Midleton town, there were several incidents of spot flooding as drains struggled to cope with the deluge.

Sandbags successfully protected a number of businesses but eight premises suffered minor flood damage.

Spot flooding was reported in Ballinacurra, Main Street, Mill Road and Park Road.

Two fire brigade units attended the scene until 5am when the floods had receded.

And the  main Cork-Waterford road was partially closed early this morning by flash-flooding caused by torrential rainfall.

Midleton fire brigade had to attend various spot flooding incidents around the east Cork town.

Clare and Wicklow were also hit by heavy rain.

Roads in the Three Trouts Bridge area of Greystones Co Wicklow were hit by flooding.

Meanwhile Leixlip Town and several housing estates including Forest Park and Castletown, were plunged into darkness as power was cut to the area.

The ESB said that there was a "major fault" in the power supply but that engineers hoped to have electricity restored to the area by 1am.

Both Met Eireann and AA Roadwatch said that flooding had receded overnight.

However, Iarnrod Eireann had to suspend Dart services between Bray and Greystones earlier today due to lightning damage.

“Cork, Midleton and Cloyne were badly affected overnight,” Met Eireann forecaster Siobhan Ryan said today.

“Such heavy rain fell down in a two hour window – it was quite serious,” she said.

Heavy rainfall and flooding in different parts of the country will occur today.

This morning, thunderstorms hit Offaly, Westmeath, Longford, North Tipperary and parts of Meath.

These thunderstorms were expected to move further east and hit parts of Dublin throughout the day.

“It’s very unstable,” Ms Ryan said, adding that an unstable air from the Bay of Biscay to the West of France was moving into Ireland.

“For the rest of the day, there’s a degree of uncertainty. Really, most areas should expect the worst.

“Temperatures will remain in the high teens and low twenties, which is what we would expect for this time of year.

“Some areas will escape the rain, but where showers do crop up, it will be thundery and there will be localised flooding.

“We’re not out of it yet,” she warned.

AA Roadwatch said there were no reports of flooding on the roads this morning, as they had receded overnight.

“There are no reports of flooding but there is a lot of water on the roads,” a spokesperson said.

“It was very bad overnight but it has definitely receded. Gardai and councils have reported that the rainfall was torrential and the flooding severe, but as the roads were so quiet, it got a chance to recede,” she added.

Irish Independent

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