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Clery's closed as thunder storms wreak havoc

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DUBLIN'S oldest department store was forced to close its doors today after part of its roof collapsed.

Clery's on O'Connell Street will remain closed for at least the next 24 hours and it is not yet known when it will re-open.

The damage to the building was caused by a violent thunderstorm that hit the city around midnight.

The 400 staff were informed when they turned up for work that the store would remain closed for the day while the building was made safe.

The damage is still being assessed and the front entrance was sealed off this morning.

"This morning at 12.10am, the Clery's Department Store building on O'Connell Street incurred damage during a period of heavy rainfall combined with thunder and lightning," said a statement.

A spokesperson told the Herald that the extent of the damage is not yet known, but it is unlikely that the store will open tomorrow.

"We had been carrying out renovations on the store, but this was completely weather related," said the spokesperson.

"We are closed today and it is doubtful if we will open tomorrow."

Chaos

Following a three-week dry spell, more chaos was caused in the city centre as torrential rain began to fall around midnight.

A section of the roof of the nearby Mater Hospital also caved in around the same time, in what is also believed to be a weather-related incident.

A small number of patients were temporarily assigned to other beds.

Repairs will be carried out as soon as possible at the hospital.

Flooding was reported in parts of Dublin city centre, Cabra, Rathgar, Christchurch and Ballymun.

Basement flats in a number of areas were submerged with water, and Collins Avenue East was reported to be impassable for a time last night.

Dart services were suspended between Bray and Greystones after lightning damaged the overhead power lines.

Dublin Fire Brigade reported being very busy in the early hours of the morning.

"At 12.10am the switchboard just lit up and at one stage we had nearly every fire brigade in Dublin out working," said a spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade.

Met Eireann said that the main reason for the flooding was not so much the quantity of rain that fell, but the fact that the ground had become so dry following the heatwave.

"The ground is so dry and hard and the rain just runs off it like it is concrete," said Met Eireann's John Hannon.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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