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Dennis' gusts of 120kph bring travel problems, floods and power cuts

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Waves crash over Roonagh Pier in Co Mayo yesterday

Waves crash over Roonagh Pier in Co Mayo yesterday

Waves crash over Roonagh Pier in Co Mayo yesterday

The country was battered by "bomb cyclone" Storm Dennis as torrential rain and winds gusting to more than 120kph caused power cuts, flooding and travel disruption.

The storm also forced the cancellation of major sporting events across Ireland, although the country avoided the severe flood chaos that blighted the UK.

Ireland was lucky to avoid loss of life with a group of kayakers miraculously escaping serious injury or death in Clare when they attempted to descend a river raging in full torrent.

Minutes after the group began their descent of the River Aille outside Doolin they got into difficulty - and one kayaker spent two hours trapped at the bottom of a 17-metre gorge.

Clare Fire Brigade, the Coast Guard's Doolin unit, the National Ambulance Service and gardai had to mount a rescue operation - with one kayaker clinging for his life to a ledge above the raging torrent, while another had to climb a sheer cliff to reach safety.

One rescue official described the incident on Saturday evening as: "Crazy. It was lucky no one was taken out of here in a box."

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Members of the public shelter from windy weather in Temple Bar

Members of the public shelter from windy weather in Temple Bar

Members of the public shelter from windy weather in Temple Bar

Torrential rainfall transformed streams and rivers into raging torrents - and left thousands of acres of farmland under flood waters.

Lightning

Rivers, including the Shannon, Blackwater, Suir, Nore and Lee, are now close to breaking their banks.

Such was the scale of flooding in the UK that the Environment Agency had to be supported by British army deployments.

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A car drives through a flooded road in the Co Galway village of Barnaderg after Storm Dennis battered the country

A car drives through a flooded road in the Co Galway village of Barnaderg after Storm Dennis battered the country

A car drives through a flooded road in the Co Galway village of Barnaderg after Storm Dennis battered the country

Ireland avoided damage on that scale, although thousands were left without power as the storm brought down trees.

At its peak, almost 10,000 homes and businesses were left without power over the weekend due to fallen trees and lightning strikes.

Galway was worst hit with 2,000 homes losing power due to the storm.

Met Eireann's Gerry Murphy warned that while Ireland had avoided a direct hit from Storm Dennis, which tracked from Iceland north toward Scotland and Scandinavia, conditions were quite treacherous, particularly along coastal areas.

While winds will ease from today, the weather will remain blustery and quite unsettled, with the likelihood of exceptionally cold conditions from tomorrow.

Today will be cold and blustery with some sunshine and widespread heavy showers of rain or hail. Temperatures will reach a lunchtime high of 7C.

"It will become very cold on Monday night and into Tuesday so showers will turn more wintry," Mr Murphy added.

Tomorrow will see more wintry conditions with Tuesday night particularly cold.

The rest of the week will remain unsettled though temperatures will climb to 10C or 11C.


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