Sunday 17 December 2017

Weather warning issued as torrential rain and flooding strikes the country

Allison Bray and Georgina O’Halloran

TORRENTIAL rain coupled with the high tide has led to severe flooding and travel chaos in parts of the country.

The worst areas affected are the south and south east where constant heavy rain and the high tide at 4:30pm today caused the River Duiske in Graignamanagh in Co Kilkenny to burst its banks, flooding the town’s main street.

Local councillor Tommy Prendergast said Main Street is like a free-flowing river with about 35 mostly business premises under water.

“I have a sandbag on my back right now,” he said as local council crews and the fire brigade battled to put sandbags in place to prevent further flood damage.

From the abbey as far as the bridge the whole main street is flooded,” he told the Irish Independent.

"I’m here with one publican who said that water is coming in through the back door and going out the front door,” he said. “It’s just like a river flowing through the middle of the street.”

“It’s just mayhem here now. People are sandbagging and trying to get things out,” he said.

The Graiguenamangh Rd (R703) is also impassable due to a landslide.

The same river, a tributary of the River Barrow, caused similar damage when it burst its banks in August 2008 and left more than a foot of water in many local homes and businesses.

There are also reports of flash flooding in nearby Callan.

Thomastown councillor Michael O’Brien said locals are bracing themselves for flooding to hit there by Saturday morning.

Torrential rain has also left many roads in Co Cork impassable due to flash flooding.

Trains on the Cork to Cobh line are cancelled after heavy rains caused subsidence on the embankment adjacent the track.

“Some of the earth has come down on the line. The conditions are pretty awful right now,” said Irish Rail spokeswoman Jane Creegan.

Buses have been put in place, however Irish Rail expects train services will resume on Saturday.

Meanwhile heavy surface water on the Carrigalowe Road in Cobh and on sections of the N25 between Little Island and Carrigtwohill is causing difficult conditions for motorists while there is also lots of surface water in west Cork, especially in Bandon and Clonakilty.

A landslide at 5pm today left the road through the village of Halfway outside Bandon blocked for a period of time with debris strewn on the road. There were also flash floods in Rosscarbery which coincided with the high tide.

Heavy surface water also resulted in hazardous driving conditions in the north of the county, particularly on the Mallow to Kildorrery Road, where torrential rain led to the closure the road between Healy’s Bridge and Cloghroe Church, between Blarney and Ballincollig. However Cork city escaped flooding.

In Kerry, heavy surface water has been reported on both major and minor roads while gardai are also dealing with a road traffic accident on the M7 motorway at Abbeyleix, Co Laois where a car has aquaplaned off a road due to surface water. No injuries have been reported.

The capital and northern counties have been spared any serious flooding despite heavy rain, although a section of the northbound M1 motorway at Balbriggan in north county Dublin is closed due to spot flooding. Diversions have been put in place.

The floods and landslides hit just hours after Met Eireann issued a weather warning advising that up to 28mms of rain is expected to fall by 11am Saturday, coupled with galeforce winds.

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