Flash floods damage homes and cars amid chaos

Motorists were rescued from trapped cars and hundreds of houses were damaged after record levels of rainfall caused freak flash flooding across Dublin.

Fire officers handled an unprecedented 600 flood calls in the capital yesterday in the wettest August day in living memory.

The clean-up operation is estimated to cost the city thousands of euro after the combination of monsoon-like rain and a high-tide caused drains to block-up flooding properties.

Dramatic reports were made to Dublin Fire Brigade of motorists trapped in their cars as waters rose around them while one vehicle was swept down a road in a torrent of flood water.

Dublin City Council said an emergency plan was rolled out and staff on holidays were drafted back to work as crews battled to keep the flood waters under control.

While the water subsided today there were still a number of roads badly affected, including the M50.

A spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade said crews spent most of the night rescuing people from houses and cars.

“Between 4pm and midnight we took about 800 calls in total, probably 600 of those would be flooding calls,” he said.

“We’ve never had anything like that. We wouldn’t generally get that many calls on Halloween.

“People would be ringing up saying their houses are flooded and there was water on the roads. People were trapped in cars and they needed to be rescued. ”

Met Eireann said that in the 24-hour period from midnight Friday until midnight Saturday 76.2mm of rain was recorded at Dublin Airport, a new record for August.

The previous record was 73mm which was noted in 1986 associated with Hurricane Charlie.

The Fire Service said the worst affected areas were in the north of the city while pockets of the south were also hit by the freak flash floods.

“There was a river flowing down Collins Avenue East (Clontarf),” the spokesman added.

“There was a girl in the car there who said the water was coming in, it was up to her knees and she was floating down the road in a BMW. It (the car) was being swept down the street.”

“One fella rang up and said the water was coming in his house door.

“It wasn’t an immediate threat, but then he rang back an hour later and said it was up to the second step of the stairs and I have four kids here and it’s getting up to the electrics and he needed to be rescued.”

Gardaí said there were no reports of injuries.

Dublin City Council said it launched its crisis management plan and staff on holidays were drafted in along with the Civil Defence to deal with the exceptional levels of rainfall.

The damage to property is estimated to be in region of the thousands of euro.

Dublin City Council Spokesman Alan Breen said: “We had a really, really busy night with crews working in extremely difficult conditions until after 1am in the morning and they were back on duty at 6am.

“People actually came back off holidays to work on those crews.

“Very senior people in the council were all mobilised and came back to HQ.

“It’s the worst rainfall and flooding arising from it in decades. This wasn’t tidal, this arose directly from what fell from the sky.”

Dart, commuter and northern-bound train services were also all affected as services had to be cancelled.

Outside Dublin the bad weather also caused flooding to houses in Co Kildare with reports of overflowing sewage in Celbridge.

In Laois a river burst its banks along the Ballyroan to Portlaoise Road at Cashel Cross while roads were also awash with water in counties Wicklow and Meath.

The unseasonable weather forced the cancellation today of racing at the Curragh and of the Tullamore Agricultural Show for the second year running.

A notice from the show organisers said: “Due to the unprecedented amount of rain that has fallen over the last 24 hours, the current state of the showgrounds, the health and safety of visitors and the welfare of show animals the executive committee are bitterly disappointed to announce that this year’s Tullamore Show and AIB National Livestock Show has been cancelled.”

Organisers of the massive Scouting Jamboree in Punchestown also had to move kids from flooded campsites to more permanent facilities.

Gardaí were warning Kilkenny, Cork and Kildare fans travelling to the gaelic games clashes in Croke Park today to expect delays as both lanes of the M50 were still severely flooded in parts.

There is little end in sight to the miserable weather with Met Eireann forecasting heavy rain in the west tomorrow will spread to all areas by mid-morning, with a risk of thunder and localised flooding.

Conditions will remain unsettled for most of the week with temperatures struggling to make the high-teens by Wednesday and Thursday.

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