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Thunderstorms and flooding as heatwave comes to an end

Council staff and the fire service deal with flash flooding in New Ross in Wexford
Council staff and the fire service deal with flash flooding in New Ross in Wexford

Heavy downpours and flooding have hit parts of Ireland as thunderstorms marked the end of the heatwave.

Met Éireann extended a Status Orange thunderstorm weather warning to 10pm tonight for Munster as well as counties Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Wicklow and Dublin.

"Heavy downpours of rain and hail will occur in places," the forecaster said. "Flooding where heavy downpours occur."

The forecaster added not all areas would be affected due to the "sporadic nature" of thunderstorm activity.

Wexford County Council believes the worst of flash flooding which hit the town of New Ross this evening has passed.

Council staff and the fire service were on the quays in New Ross from early evening dealing with flash flooding following heavy rain which accompanied thunder and lightning in the area.

Parts of the quays were submerged in water after an estimated 20mm-plus of rain fell in the space of about an hour.

Several local roads were impassable for some hours because of the flooding and a number of properties were hit by floodwater - mostly the basement sections of buildings on the quays and in low-lying areas of the town.

The worst of the rain had passed by early tonight and the flooding was brought under control, with council and fire staff pumping excess water in the river.

Civil defence volunteers were also present to help local householders and other property-owners whose buildings were affected. However, it is not thought anyone was flooded out of their home.

Damage assessment will continue tomorrow.

The downpours came after the heatwave ended last night with thunder, lightning and flash flooding in many places.

A small craft warning from Roches Point to Slyne Head to Malin Head was also in place today with northerly winds expected to reach force 6 or higher. It was due to end at just after midnight.

The UK Met Office issued a Status Yellow thunderstorm warning for counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry which is in place until midnight.

Lightning over Limerick last night (Pic: Maria Flannery)

Met Éireann said ten of its weather stations exceeded their maximum temperature records for August during the recent hot spell.

The station at Moore Park in Co Cork broke its all-time record high temperature with a new high of 30.6C.

Seven stations recorded heatwaves, which means temperatures of over 25C over five or more consecutive days.

The Head of Met Éireann's Climate Services Division said that "while 2022 has brought Ireland extreme heat events, looking over a longer period reveals a trend in Ireland's temperatures".

"20 of the 21 years this century have all seen temperatures above what was considered normal in the 1970s, and climate models project this trend to continue," Keith Lambkin said.

Power outages reported in parts

The ESB reported a number of power outages around the country today following the storms.

Paul Hand of ESB Networks said the number of customers without power is fluctuating as lightning continues to cause some damage to the network.

"We expect it to remain in the low thousands over the course of today," Mr Hand said.

"Lightning strikes associated with Met Éireann's orange thunderstorm warning caused a number of faults on the electricity network yesterday evening and early today.

"With an extended Met Éireann thunderstorm warning in place for the southern half of the country, further weather-related outages can be expected and we will continue to closely monitor the situation and respond as required."

Up to 1,200 homes and businesses in Co Limerick were affected earlier today but power has since been restored.

There have also been outages reported in counties Longford, Wexford, Galway, Limerick, Tipperary, Cavan, Louth and Kilkenny.

Mr Hand told RTÉ News that 5,000 customers were impacted by an outage at Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, overnight, but power was restored at 6.30am.

Reporting Conor Kane, PA

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