Tuesday night’s torrential rainfall was so heavy that floodwaters ripped up the tarmac from one housing estate.
Patsy McGlone, SDLP MLA, said that the Sandy Braes area of Magherafelt, Co Londonderry, had been inundated with rain from about 6.30pm.
He said: “It is a lower part of the town, and water was inevitably finding its course to the lowest point. It came down with huge ferocity. On the entrance to the estate it lifted the tarmac off it was coming in with such ferocity.”
Two women were rescued from the flood waters by firefighters – one from their house, another from their car.
He said the fire brigade was the only agency he saw there for quite some time, and questioned how well the response effort had been co-ordinated.
Magherafelt’s courthouse was also closed yesterday due to storm damage, and 65 cases had to be moved to Antrim.
The Department for Regional Development (DRD)said Magherafelt was just one of 23 areas where they had been asked for help, and that Cookstown, Strabane and Omagh were also hard-hit.
It said: “Roads Service were working throughout the evening and at night in many areas taking calls, supplying sandbags where appropriate and were on the ground at many various sites... DRD was in contact throughout the evening with Mr McGlone who was kept updated.“
The Rivers Agency said it had responded to a number of calls for assistance but did not receive any from Magherafelt, and that its staff had been checking the infrastructure in the area.