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'It was of biblical proportions' - floods likely to wreak more havoc as weather warning in place for 23 counties

Wexford County Council said more rain fell in an hour yesterday than in the previous month

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Flashback: Hughie O’Donnell up to his neck in the flood in 2009. Photo: Mark Condren

Flashback: Hughie O’Donnell up to his neck in the flood in 2009. Photo: Mark Condren

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Met Éireann has issued weather warnings for 23 counties as "heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms" look likely to cause further flooding across Ireland.

A yellow rainfall warning is in place for Leinster as well as counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford until 3am on Friday. There is also a yellow thunderstorm warning in place until tomorrow for counties Antrim, Armagh and Down.

Liz Walsh, Meteorologist with Met Éireann said that while some areas will miss the showers where they do occur there will be some torrential downpours, localised flooding and hazardous driving conditions.

"For the last week or so we've been in this showery regime with lots of thunder and lightening around. There have been some heavy thundery downpours in places," she said.

"That should help to relieve some of the drought conditions in place over the country and it looks like there is more rain to come.

"We're still in the showery, unstable, thundery airflow through today so there is a risk of more thundery showers but I'm more worried about tomorrow when there is a risk of thundery downpours but a greater risk of prolonged periods of rain later tomorrow and into the early hours of Friday.

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Caroline Southall and Mark Wickham inside Wickham butchers on the Main Street in Enniscorthy which suffered damage during the heavy downpour of rain.  Picture; Gerry Mooney

Caroline Southall and Mark Wickham inside Wickham butchers on the Main Street in Enniscorthy which suffered damage during the heavy downpour of rain. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Caroline Southall and Mark Wickham inside Wickham butchers on the Main Street in Enniscorthy which suffered damage during the heavy downpour of rain. Picture; Gerry Mooney

"With thunder storms it's very hard to pinpoint exactly where they will happen but we do realise that some people will not see anything at all when 4km down the road they will see torrential downpour.

"The danger of the lightning is probably muted today but there is still a risk that certain areas could see some lightning activity today but it's probably more subdued than it has been n the last couple of days."

Ms Walsh said that while the weather system will change on Friday, an incoming Atlantic weather system will bring with it more rain.

"On Friday there's a bit of a break. I think we're finally going to get rid of this showery thundery regime and switch to something more Atlantic - a mobile regime, so you'll start to see a more traditional fare with western and south-western areas seeing the worst conditions of that.

"So heavy rain is possible on Saturday mostly everywhere and into Sunday. It looks very unsettled through the weekend.

"There has been quite a bit of flooding. In previous days we have had instrumental measurements from around the country. Obviously we saw the funnel clown in Enniscorthy so there were really heavy falls and that looks to continued."

A funnel cloud - described by meteorologists as a precursor to a tornado - was spotted over Enniscorthy yesterday afternoon, according to Met Éireann. It brought extreme downpours and thunderstorms which led to flash flooding in the area.

Businesses trying to recover from losses incurred by Covid-19 have been dealt a further blow after they suffered flood damage as a result of the heavy downpours on Tuesday evening.

A number of businesses in Enniscorthy town suffered flood damage during the thunder spells yesterday.

The Holy Grail restaurant, which had been running a takeaway service, has had to temporarily close and will need to install new floors.

Diane Rigley, manager of the restaurant, said the water came gushing in after the drains outside became blocked.

“Luckily the fire brigade came along and were able to clear it but there was a lot of damage done to the floors,” she said.

Wickham Bros butchers also suffered water damage on the shop floor and in the basement but is remaining open.

Mark Wickham said “we can’t afford to close after everything that’s happened lately”.

“We’ve some competitors in the town and after being closed due to covid we’ve had to stay open. It’s the last thing you’d need after the last few months,” he told Independent.ie.

Pettitt’s SuperValu at the top of the town also had a rough night after heavy rain caused some damage to the roof.

A spokesperson for Wexford County Council described the flooding as of "biblical proportions".

"The level of rainfall experienced yesterday evening in Enniscorthy town was unprecedented in it’s force. It is estimated that more rain fell in an hour in Enniscorthy town yesterday than in the entire proceeding month. Locally, the level of rainfall has been described as being of biblical proportions."

There has been little history of flooding at this part of the town, the spokesperson added.

"The sheer volume and speed of water and accompanying debris that flowed down adjoining streets last evening to Market Square was so severe that it was way beyond the capacity of the gullies to capture and dispose of the water.

"Wexford County Council Fire Services staff responded to a call at 20:35 hrs and attended the location where they provided assistance to the premises in question.

"Wexford County Council will take this into account when reviewing this incident and considering how best to minimise the possibility of a similar incident arising in the future."

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