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23 juin 2007

Clean-up begins after rain brings flooding chaos

A massive thunderstorm that struck the Dublin area between 3pm and 4pm resulted in flash flooding, lightning strikes and leaky roofs in some parts of south Dublin. The Dublin airport weather station recorded 9mm of rain falling within the hour. Up to 20mm of rain was reported to have struck parts of Rathfarnham, leading to heavy congestion as roads were either impassable or down to one lane due to flooding.

Flooding was also reported around Blanchardstown, Castleknock and Lucan, as well as around the Strawberry Beds and Chapelizod. Some residents found themselves knee-deep in water around Rathfarnham after a tributary of the Dodder River burst its banks during the deluge. Parts of the M50 and the N7 were also flooded leading to traffic chaos and long tailbacks. Firefighters were kept busy as they were dispatched all over the city early yesterday evening to pump out houses inundated with rainwater.

There were no reports of any serious flooding, but pressure on the drainage system lifted manhole covers in numerous flashpoints around Dublin. A row of artisan cottages on Mount Brown in Inchicore was also flooded. The storm also led to a brief power outage in the Citywest and Tallaght areas after lightning struck a 110,000 volt ESB substation, but electricity was restored within 10 minutes and there were no serious problems elsewhere, according to the ESB.

The rain, however, did not dampen the spirits of 10,000 music fans who bore the brunt of the deluge at Marlay Park which hosted a concert by Peter Gabriel and Aussie rockers Crowded House whose hit 'Weather With You' whipped them into a soaked but happy frenzy, according to organisers.

Mudbaths and mudfights were also the order of the day for 140,000 festival-goers at Glastonbury in Somerset, England, despite the efforts of organisers to improve the drainage system. The deluge has become almost an annual event at the festival which experienced massive washouts in 1997, 1998 and 2005.

Racing enthusiasts were also ducking for cover at Ascot as the skies opened and drenched the largely well-heeled crowd, thanks to a low pressure system over much of the UK, Ireland and Wales bringing with it hot, humid weather. But the picture was much brighter for anyone living outside Leinster and parts of Munster yesterday. Most of the rest of the country experienced dry, sunny and relatively balmy conditions with notable exceptions in parts of counties Tipperary and Waterford. The soggy conditions are set to continue for much of the country today.

Tomorrow will see showers return with a vengeance and there may well be a repeat of yesterday's heavy thunderstorms, while Monday may seem more like a day in October with cool, windy and showery conditions, according at Aidan McNulty of Met Eireann. "Next week will seem more like late autumn but we still have July and August, so just because it's bad now doesn't mean the summer is over," he said

Allison Bray

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