‘Intense thunderstorm activity’ across Ireland as heatwave ends

Flooding experienced around country with Castlerea, Co Roscommon one of worst affected areas

Ireland experienced “intense thunderstorm activity” on Monday evening as the record-breaking August temperatures ended with flash flooding.

Last week’s heatwave came to an end on Sunday night. A status orange thunderstorm weather warning came into effect for Munster and South Leinster and was due to be in place until 9am on Monday, but was extended until 10pm.

One of the worst affected areas was Castlerea, Co Roscommon where 20mm of rain (almost an inch) fell in just a half-an-hour causing flash flooding in the town. Carron in Co Clare also got 20mm in less than an hour.

Flash flooding was seen in Tullow, Co Carlow on Monday, along with heavy downpours in New Ross, Co Wexford and Mallow, Co Cork.

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There was also heavy rain and lightning in Co Limerick while lightning was also reported in many other locations including counties Meath, Galway, Donegal, Sligo, Cavan and Louth.

A lightning strike in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny cut supplies to 5,000 customers at 5am. Power was restored at 6.30pm.

Met Éireann forecaster Aoife Keally said there was flooding where downpours occurred as well as hail. These accumulations could be as much as 20mm in an hour.

Ms Keally said the showers would ease overnight, with Tuesday and Wednesday set to be mostly dry. Tuesday will be “a lot cooler”, she said, with many areas having a “dry day with scattered showers”.

The heavy rain will return across the country on Thursday and on Friday, with the forecast looking unsettled into the weekend.

The rain will be welcomed by farmers and gardeners as a prolonged dry spell has left many places in near drought. Soil moisture deficits (the amount of rain needed to bring the soil up to normal saturation levels) is between 50mm and 80mm in the east of the country. Elsewhere, deficits generally range from 10 to 50mm.

The rainfall will decrease the soil moisture deficits but they will remain below normal.

In Northern Ireland, the UK Met Office implemented a thunderstorm warning for Monday after a change in air pressure led to dramatic showers.

Greg Dewhurst, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said the week would start off quite humid before cooling down later on.

Drivers were urged to drive carefully amid predictions of flash flooding. There’s a risk of aquaplaning as the water won’t drain away quite as quickly. The risk of slipping and sliding is also greater.

A spokesman for the AA also warned about slippery surfaces on the roads as a result of rubber build-up from tyres. — Additional reporting PA

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times