'We reversed minutes before the bridge collapsed' - Donegal woman describes her lucky escape after weather wreaks havoc
Parts of the North and North-West ravaged by extreme weather
A woman and her husband had a lucky escape after they reversed away from a bridge minutes before it collapsed in Co Donegal.
Mairéad Howie told how she warned other drivers not to pass over the bridge on the Muff to Iskaheen road in Inishowen, including a couple with a baby in the back seat.
The bridge later collapsed underneath a tractor, with the driver managing to escape uninjured.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Howie described the "scary" scenes that unfolded in Donegal after four inches of rain fell in just 24 hours.
"There were cars floating down the river, football pitches destroyed...there were low lying electrical wires and some poles falling where we had to drive. Driving through them in lightning was very scary. A garden wall collapsed in front of us on the road and we had to do an emergency stop."
She said people in the area were panicking about getting home safe, while others feared their homes would be destroyed by the violent flooding.
"It is the craziest flooding I have ever seen. The roads turned into Niagara Falls. I've never seen anything like it in my life."
Mark Cullen, who lives in Fahan, Co Donegal, said it was like his house was in the "middle of a river" when he woke up this morning.
"Looking out the top windows it was like the house was in the middle of a river that never existed before...and it was a big mucky mess of a thing."
Dramatic photographs and videos are emerging online hours after the north and north-west of the country experienced never-before-seen weather conditions.
Donegal County Council reported that a number of roads will remain closed for the coming weeks as new bridges are constructed.
Since the rain stopped overnight the Council’s roads staff have been taking stock of the damage. Two bridges have been completely washed away either side of Quigley’s Point on the R238 and the R240.
Thunderstorms and deluge swamp Elaghbeg, Inishowen 21/8/17 pic.twitter.com/adqwCpV59t— Brian Hutton (@magicbathtub) August 22, 2017
Driving conditions in parts of Donegal and Derry were horrendous with many motorists having to abandon their vehicles. The Foyle Arena in Derry was opened as a rest centre due to number of motorists stranded by floods in the city.
Derry Airport had to cancel all flights as the terminal was heavily flooded.
Thousands of homes were also left without power and an Armagh swimming pool had to close because of the flooding.
The Fire and Rescue Service of Northern Ireland said it dealt with 60 incidents, mainly in the west related to flooding - in some cases people had to be rescued from their cars.
Video footage has emerged of vehicles which were parked in a park-and-ride at Drumahoe, Co Derry being washed away in flash floods.
Forecaster Mr Eagleton said: "There was a band of rain that crossed right over the north west and Northern Ireland. It was very very intense and was closer to something you would see in parts of continental Europe rather than Ireland."
The forecaster said around four inches of water fell.
"To put that into context. On a really wet day in Dublin you would typically get around an inch of rain. This is four to five wet days condensed into one. Approximately a month's rain fell in a day."
One local woman told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland: "The weather has been atrocious.
"We've seen cars being taken away on tow-vans, everything.
"They're actually walking four foot into the water.
"That's how deep the water is with the floods."