WIDESPREAD flooding throughout the country – which closed towns and businesses, inundated hundreds of farms, homes and schools and caused traffic chaos – is likely to be repeated over the weekend as forecasters predict a continuation of unsettled conditions.
Many areas had four times their normal rainfall in a 24-hour period and last night, as emergency mop-up operations were being staged in many regions, with parts of Sligo, Clare, Kerry and west Cork being worst hit, gardaí warned motorists not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
The record-breaking rainfalls this week along the west coast are a foretaste of new weather patterns due to climate change, an NUI Galway geography lecturer has warned.
Kieran Hickey said yesterday that it had been at least 20 to 30 years since there had been such a combination of heavy, highly intense and prolonged rainfall in the west.
“Whereas such an occurrence back then would be described as unusual, this is the pattern we are going to see more of due to climate change.”
Meanwhile, 28 psychiatric patients were last night evacuated from a care home in Ennis ahead of flood levels reaching their peak at high tide.
Health Service Executive personnel evacuated the patients – many of whom were taken out of Cappahard Nursing Home in wheelchairs – to Ennis General Hospital.
A Met Éireann spokesperson said the current cycle of wet weather will continue over the weekend and into the first half of next week.
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