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Monday, 11 August 2008

It Never Rains But It Pours - Summer In Dublin Ireland...

Dubliners are bracing themselves for further flooding as heavy downpours are predicted in the coming days.

The news comes as residents in many parts of the capital are today coming to terms with the damage wreaked by Saturday's intense rainfall.

Met Eireann says heavy and thundery rain is likely in Leinster tonight, with flooding a real possibility in many areas.

And the outlook for the coming days does not look much better, with heavy rain predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a senior Dublin City Council official has admitted the capital's drainage system cannot cope with the "freak" rainfall which occurred over the weekend.

Rainfall

City engineer Tom Leahy said the system was designed to deal with normal or even heavy rainfall. "It cannot deal with these extreme events," Mr Leahy said today.

A top climate expert warned that Dubliners will have to get used to the heavy rainfall and flash floods that hit the city on Saturday.


Dr John Sweeney of NUI in Maynooth said the monsoon-like conditions were a product of warmer sea and land temperatures.

Meanwhile, a resident in Balgriffin in north Dublin told today how she and her family had to clamber out the window of their bungalow to escape the rising water.

Alice Geraghty said by 7pm on Saturday the lower part of her split-level home was under water. "By eight o'clock, after numerous calls to the fire brigade, we had to leave via one of the windows," Mrs Geraghty told RTE's Morning Ireland. She described the situation as "very traumatic and distressing".

"We returned to a scene of utter devastation," Mrs Geraghty revealed, saying that her garden had been destroyed.

"The smell and dirt in the house is incredible," she added.

Dr Sweeney said it was "probably the most intense rainfall event in eastern Ireland since Hurricane Charlie in 1986".

And he said we will have to get used to it happening more often in the future.

"We have to expect we will get more of this," Dr Sweeney added.

He said when the sewage comes up through the drains in a town like Celbridge in Co Kildare you "have to blame the local authority". A huge clean-up operation was continuing today after the mass floodings over the weekend.

The harsh weather on Saturday evening caused extensive traffic congestion across the capital and the cancellation of a number of sporting events.

Record levels of rainfall, at 76.2mm, were recorded at Dublin Airport over the 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday night.

Several routes around Dublin were made impassable over the weekend as a result of the rain.
Flooding affected many parts of Leinster, with a river bursting its banks in Laois, and flooding reaching over two feet in some housing estates in Celbridge, Co Kildare.


In Dublin, the city council put in place its crisis management plan when the severity of the situation became clear.

Dublin fire brigade received some 800 calls over an eight-hour period -- the equivalent of a Halloween night. Staff who had been on holidays were drafted in to help.

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

"People would be ringing up saying their houses are flooded. Some were trapped in cars and needed to be rescued," he said.

The severe flooding affected the north- and south-bound lanes of the M50 as well as the south-bound part of the port tunnel, which was close for a time over the weekend.

The M50 was especially badly affected between the Finglas and Ballymun exits, while the M1 was closed at Shantalla bridge.


Report by Cormac Murphy - Evening Herald

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