No let-up in unsettled weather on horizon

Alastair Mennie surfs at the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim on Sunday.
Alastair Mennie surfs at the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim on Sunday.

The unsettled weather in Northern Ireland that has seen rain followed by long sunny spells, such as that enjoyed by much of the Province yesterday, is set to continue this week.

Further rain – heavy at times and clearing towards the evening – is anticipated today, along with strong winds that will ease.

Low pressure will bring spells of rain all week, forecasters said.

“It is sunshine and showers, as often happens in a showery scenario,” said Andy Ratcliffe of Meteogroup.

He said that Northern Ireland had escaped the major flooding experienced in the Republic and Great Britain because much of that flooding was in the coastal areas, and the Province had been sheltered because the winds were mostly coming from the south-west.

South of the border, the threat of further flooding in Limerick will remain until today, city authorities warned yesterday.

Many people were evacuated from their homes after the city’s worst flooding in living memory when the River Shannon burst its banks.

With warnings of fresh gales gusting at up to 100km per hour in coastal areas, Met Eireann issued a status orange alert. Galway, neighbouring Salthill, Clare and Cork city were badly affected, but Limerick appeared to have been hit hardest with some roads closed.

Stretches of the Shannon were six feet higher than the normal summer-time navigational level, it was claimed.

Elderly residents were among those rescued from their homes by the emergency services which used boats in flooded housing estates.

County and city manager Conn Murray said no one in the city could remember flooding on that scale before. Preparations had been made and defences shored up in areas most at risk.

But he added: “The volume of water was such that our defences were simply 
unable to cope.”

Meanwhile, the body of a teenager was recovered yesterday from the River Barrow at Milford Bridge, Co Carlow. A search began after reports that he fell into the water.

In Great Britain, householders have been told to brace themselves for further wind and rain.

Around 180 homes were flooded over the weekend.

In the south of England, 1.5 million tonnes of water a day were pumped off the Somerset Levels in a bid to alleviate residents’ five-week flooding anguish.

In Wales, more than 50 mountain rescuers battled atrocious conditions during a daring eight-hour rescue in the Cambrian Mountains.And in Scotland, coastguards braved rough seas in the hunt for a missing angler.

But as flood-hit communities enjoyed a break in the bad weather yesterday, forecasters warned there may be worse to come today.