The northwest of Ireland has been submerged by the heaviest rainfall in 100 years.
Parts of Donegal, Tyrone and Derry remain flooded after four inches of rain on Tuesday night saw homes evacuated, trees uprooted, bridges collapsed and cars washed away.
2,500 homes were left without power but so far there have been no reported fatalities or injuries as a result of the unusual weather.
At the height of the tourist season flights in and out of Derry Airport were canceled on Wednesday as much of the airport was underwater; no word yet as to when they’ll resume.
Firefighters said they had responded to 85 separate calls for help and the coastguard was so overwhelmed with pleas for assistance that helicopters from as far away as Scotland and Wales were scrambled and flown in for assistance.
At one point Northern Ireland’s firefighters were receiving an emergency call from the public every 45 seconds and in total 120 people in the north had to be rescued from their cars or homes.
Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula (Ireland’s most northerly point) was particularly badly affected and locals said normally quiet country roads turned suddenly into raging rivers as a cascade of water thundered down from the heavens. Two bridges that lead into the town of Carndonagh collapsed and it’s not yet known how long they’ll take to repair.
One woman told the Irish Independent she and her husband had driven over a bridge mere minutes before it crumbled; the bridge finally buckled under the weight of a passing tractor but the driver managed to escape uninjured.
"A garden wall collapsed in front of us on the road and we had to do an emergency stop. It is the craziest flooding I have ever seen. The roads turned into Niagara Falls. I've never seen anything like it in my life."
Local councillor Bernard McGuinness said it was an extraordinary sight to behold.
“It was a weather event not seen here in living memory with 70mm of rain in just a few hours,” he told RTÉ.
Meteorologist Gerry Murphy said locals shouldn’t worry about it happening again anytime soon.
"It's got a return period of 100 years,” he estimated.
The opposition Fianna Fáil party described yesterday’s events as an “exceptional situation which requires an exceptional response”.
Kevin Boxer Moran, Minister for Public Works, today journeyed to Donegal to see and assess for himself the damage with an official response due shortly.
In Northern Ireland, those whose homes have been flooded are eligible for an emergency grant of $1,300 to help with repairs.
Here is some incredible aerial footage of flooding in Donegal, in the Burt/ Inch area of the county near the border with Derry:
H/T: Irish Times