Emergency warning: Monster rain and strong winds to hit over next 24 hours
MONSTER rain and strong winds will hit the country over the coming days, sparking a warning from emergency services.
Up to 60mm of rain is expected to fall over the next 24 hours causing widespread local flooding, while strong winds will add to the dangerous conditions.
Met Eireann warned today that heavy rain this morning would become widespread throughout the day. Connaught and Munster are particularly susceptible to flooding.
Strong to gale force, east to northeast winds will steadily back northeast to north, but winds will ease for a time later in south eastern counties.
A big clean-up was already under way in the east Cork town of Midleton yesterday, after businesses fell victim to flash-floods. The Irish Coast Guard warned people to stay away from the shoreline, while the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged caution on the roads.
The warnings came after Met Eireann said wet and windy conditions would persist until at least Saturday.
"There will be rain for the next two days, heavy and persistent, right across the country," forecaster Sandra Spillane said.
"It will come into the south- west and into Munster first, then into Leinster and parts of Connacht. There's warnings of 40-60mm of rain falling in 24 hours in Munster and Connacht on Thursday, and a risk of another 20-30mm on Friday.
"The east coast will be a little bit better, but there's still warnings with 30-50mm of rain possible on Thursday, and another 20-30mm on Friday.
"The winds will be high, it will be cold too with temperatures between 12C and 15C. There will be localised flooding, visibility will be poor on the roads and there will be persistent rain in most areas."
Road Safety Authority chief executive Noel Brett said roads would be particularly hazardous because of recent dry weather. "After prolonged periods of dry weather there tends to be a build-up of oil and rubber deposit on the road," he said. "When this deposit mixes with rainwater it increases the risk of a skid and increases your stopping distance."
In Midleton yesterday, shopkeepers were busy cleaning up the mess and damage caused by flooding.
Among the premises affected was travel agents Lee Travel on the Main Street. Proprietor Declan O'Connell described the rain which fell steadily for an hour-and-a-half from around 6.30pm as "extraordinary".
"It was unbelievable. I live about 10 miles away in Glanmire and I was out for a walk in the sun when I got a call from a member of staff who was in the town. We were lucky.
"She came into the shop and she brushed the water out. That made a great difference," said Mr O'Connell.
Many business owners were breathing a sigh of relief that the damage to their properties was not more extensive.
Eddie Coleman of Eddie Coleman's Hardware said the high step in front of his shop prevented the water from flooding his property.
"I've never seen anything like it. The rain came very suddenly and lasted about an hour. It was a flash food," he said.