Storm Fergus: Tornado-like weather event causes extensive damage in Leitrim village

Orange warnings for wind are in place for counties Clare, Galway and Mayo

Gardaí closed access to Leitrim village after a tornado-like weather event swept through the area on Sunday afternoon causing damage to vehicles and properties.

Locals reported a freak weather event shorty after 12.30pm which blew the roof off at least one house and damaged several others.

Several cars were also damaged by flying debris, while trees were uprooted and walls were knocked over. A number of boats moored at the local jetty were overturned.

There are no reports of serious injuries, although at least one motorist received treatment for minor injuries after debris smashed into their car’s windscreen.


Willie Donnellan, a photographer who lives in the town, said he was having a cup of tea when he heard a loud bang.

“I looked out the window to my right. The next thing I saw trees disappearing and a roof flying off a house. One house was badly damaged, while the back of the pub next door was also damaged, as well as apartments across the road. Telephone poles, ESB poles were taken out of it as if there was dynamite,” he said.

“A few people were in cars which were damaged by flying debris. Part of the roof hit one. It lasted just 20 seconds, I’d say. It was frightening. We’ve never witnessed anything like this before. We had awful thunder and lightning just before it happened.”

The village was left without power for several hours after the incident.

The Garda asked people to avoid the area.

“The village is closed. Please avoid the area and be patient while emergency services deal with the incident,” the An Garda Síochána account for road traffic updates posted on social media.

A status yellow thunderstorm warning had been in place for a number of counties surrounding Leitrim as Storm Fergus swept across the region.

Small tornadoes, while rare, are associated with thunderstorms and can be caused by a change in wind direction, according to Met Éireann.

It can also cause straight line gusts of wind, which can cause extensive damage in localised settings.

Meanwhile, high winds and potential coastal flooding had been expected on the west coast later on Sunday as Storm Fergus swept across the island, Met Éireann said.

Orange warnings for wind were in place for counties Clare, Galway and Mayo until 8pm on Sunday, indicating very strong onshore winds coupled with high waves and high tides.

Storm Fergus, the second named storm of the weekend, has also brought yellow warnings for wind in counties Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Cavan, Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wicklow, Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo.

Those counties could expect difficult travelling conditions caused by debris or displaced loose objects during the storm’s passage.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent