Flash floods in Donegal as Met Éireann warns of further heavy rainfall

Met Éireann has said there is a chance of more flash flooding and rainfall warnings on Wednesday – but there are brighter signs on the horizon for August.

There was severe flash flooding and road closures in Raphoe and its surrounding villages in Co Donegal on Saturday.

Linda Hughes, a meteorologist with Met Éireann, said there is some potential for more rain warnings and flooding on Wednesday, with the next wet weather forecast for then, but she “can’t be certain for the moment”.

However, Ms Hughes said there was “a slight signal for a bit of an improvement for August compared to July”.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in it, but there is a slight signal that we’ll have more, more settled weather for August compared to July and temperatures increasing a little bit as well,” she said.

Donegal County Councillor and Raphoe native Frank McBrearty said flooding in the town on Saturday evening was the worst he had ever seen.

In a statement on Sunday evening, Mr McBrearty said “this type of flooding can happen at any time in Raphoe town.

“I was drenched, and had to go home twice to shower due to the raw sewage that was coming out of the manholes in the town,” he said.

The councillor called on Donegal County Council to put together a co-ordinated emergency plan in conjunction with the community and businesses of Raphoe town.

“I am now demanding the proper levels of funding to address the damage caused by these flash floods and the funding to construct proper flood prevention mechanisms within the town,” his statement read.

“Over the last 25 years there has been multiple properties built in the town similar to other towns but there has been no upgrading of sewage or storm drainage within the town itself and this has played a big factor in the continuation of the flooding problems.”

Mr McBrearty also said he has felt, since his election to the council in 2009, that the proposed flood relief earmarked for Raphoe and other areas “will not work due to these problems being caused by flash flooding.

“You cannot put 100ft of water into a 2ft pipe and expect it not to flood,” he said.

A yellow rainfall warning was issued by Met Éireann on Saturday evening at 6.30pm for counties Donegal, Cavan, Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath, but by then, according to his statement, Mr McBrearty was already receiving calls about flooding in Raphoe.

The weather is expected to remain generally unsettled for the week, according to Ms Hughes, with temperatures remaining around the mid to high teens, occasionally creeping up to the low 20s during the day.

Monday will be a brighter and fresher day, she said, with a northerly breeze and temperatures in the north to northwest reaching about 15-16 degrees but up to 19-20 degrees in some parts of the south.

Plenty of sunny spells are expected but with some scattered showers mostly in the east and south later on in the day, with the odd heavy shower, “but generally nothing compared to what we’ve had this weekend”, Ms Hughes added.

Tuesday is set to be similar to Monday, before the wet weather reappears on Wednesday, with rain and drizzle expected to move across the country. Strong breezes are expected around the coast in particular, before beginning to clear up again on Thursday.

Friday and Saturday are also likely to be wet but Sunday may be better. However, Ms Hughes said she cannot be sure of the details of next weekend’s weather as of yet.

Elsewhere in Donegal on Sunday, a burst water main in Bundoran caused major disruption to the town, with Donegal County Councillor Michael McMahon saying that although the burst was not weather related, there was serious damage done to one business property as a result of the flooding.

The pipe, which feeds the entirety of Bundoran and the outlying area, caused “thousands and thousands of gallons of water” to flow in the town, “down an avenue and a caravan site and on to the main road”, before the water was turned off, Mr McMahon said.

This in turn left hundreds of homes and businesses without water until about 2.30pm, when the water was restored following the completion of repairs.

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