Monday 19 February 2018

From blazing July to wild weather out west

Met Eireann issues severe warning as thunderstorms and flash floods cause havoc

An overturned truck on the M50/N2 junction
Jessica Hayes and Adeline Leamy under heavy rain in Limerick
A horse and cart near Killarney
Tourists cycling in Muckross, Co Kerry

Fiona Ellis, Caroline Crawford and Anne Lucey

A SEVERE weather warning remained in place overnight after near-apocalyptic weather lashed the western seaboard.

However, the worst of the weather is set to pass by tomorrow, sparing the bank holiday.

Vicious thunderstorms, torrential rain and flash floods marked the first day of August, hot on the heels of the warmest July in 120 years.

Met Eireann issued a 'status orange' rainfall warning as extreme weather conditions affected most of Munster and Connacht and into Ulster.

The wet weather made driving conditions treacherous in Galway and parts of Mayo, with forecasters warning of thunderstorms with the possibility of up to 70mm of rain in the north and north-west throughout the night.

In Kerry, council crews were on standby as heavy rainfall led to roads flooding in the north of the county, near the seaside resort of Ballybunion.

Minor flooding was also reported in Ardfert near Tralee, and in Milltown in mid-Kerry.

Manhole covers were lifted in Milltown and a number of villages as a result of water pressure, while in the north of the county in Lisselton homes were flooded and sandbags were being distributed in Ballylongford on the Shannon estuary.

Downpours were heavy in Co Cork but flooding was not widespread across the region.

The south and south-east of the country escaped most of the bad weather, with Dublin even catching some sunny spells as temperatures reached into the high teens.

A lorry driver from Northern Ireland had a lucky escape when his truck overturned on a slip road of the M50 in Dublin.

The driver for Woolsey Freight based in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, escaped with just a few cuts and scratches, according to a colleague, who said "he had a few stitches but he was very lucky".

The lorry overturned on the sliproad on to the N2 near Finglas as the driver was heading to Ashbourne around 7am yesterday.

The road was closed until 2pm yesterday and traffic re-routed.

The driver was taken to hospital as a precaution but was released.

No one else was injured.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Today will see the bad weather continue across the country and there is a risk that torrential downpours will affect almost all areas.

However, conditions will be pleasant outside of showers, with sunny spells, and some areas may manage to escape dry altogether.

"There is still some risk of very heavy downpours early Friday and there still will be some rain at times, but there'll be good sunny periods as well," said Met Eireann meteorologist Deirdre Lowe.

"It'll be very mixed."

Tomorrow and Sunday are also set to be a mixed bag of rain and sunny periods but the earlier ferocity of thunderstorms will have passed by tomorrow morning.


"Saturday will be breezy in the north-west with sunshine and showers, and then for Sunday there is a risk of some rain coming up to the south and south-east but further north and west it'll stay dry," said Ms Lowe.

Temperatures over the bank holiday weekend should range from the high teens to low 20s.

"For the weekend temperatures, generally speaking, will stay around the high teens, possible 20 degrees at times, even reaching 21 degrees," she said.

"Generally speaking I'd say temperatures will average 18 to 21 degrees."

The deteriorating weather came as Met Eireann reported that July had seen the hottest weather in 120 years in many parts of the country.

Casement Aerodrome in Co Dublin averaged 17.9C during July, breaking the record for the station's hottest ever monthly temperature since records began.

Valentia, Co Kerry, had its joint hottest July since local records began in 1869; while Co Donegal had its hottest July since records began in 1890, with 15.7C beating 1995's 15.6C.

Shannon Airport had its hottest ever July – with 18.6C beating 1983's 18.4C – and its second hottest month ever, behind 19.4C in August 1995.

Meanwhile, in the midlands, weather was mixed with western areas experiencing heavy showers throughout the day with some thunderstorms and many parts of the east remaining dry.

Irish Independent

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