The latest storms to hit Ireland will cost the economy almost half a billion dollars – with more on the way over the weekend.

Record tides and devastating flood and gales lashed the country on Friday with Ireland’s weather forecast service warning of a repeat on Sunday.

Experts have branded the freakish winds and rain as the worst series of storms to hit the country in over 15 years.

And economists have warned that the price of home insurance will increase after estimating the current damage at over $500million.

Galway and Cork were worst hit with flooding while the River Liffey in Dublin also reached record levels.

The Irish Independent reports that roads were left under water or blocked by debris. Sea defences were breached along the east and west coasts according to the paper.

A forecaster with Ireland’s official weather service Met Eireann warned of more strong gusts, rain in the west and south and high tides, which could result in yet more flooding.

Forecaster Pat Clarke said: “Seas will probably go down a little bit because the winds will be slack but they’ll pick up again Sunday and Monday so there’s still a risk.

“There’s an ongoing risk of flooding because the land is saturated and on top of that you have the coastal situation.”

Clarke told the Irish Independent that the current storm is the worst since 1998.

Galway jeweller Niall McNeilis told the paper how the floods in the Spanish Arch area of the city caused $15,000 worth of damage to his shop alone.

McNeilis will have to foot the bill himself as he operates in a recognised flood zone and has no insurance cover.

He said: “I will have to put down a new wooden floor and all new electrics. Any profit that was made over the Christmas period has been lost now. We’ll be closed for a few days and January is a tough month.

“It’s one step forward, two steps back. We did what we could to keep floods out but it’s just freak weather conditions and we seem to be getting more and more of it.”

The famous promenade in the Clare surfing town of Lahinch bore the brunt of the storm as Atlantic waves crashed through the seawall.

Joe Garrihy, general manager at the Seaworld complex, likened the scene to one from the Armageddon movie.

He said: “It was like a scene from an Armageddon movie. Large boulders were thrown over the wall by the sea on to the car park. It was a one-in-50 year storm and the response from local people has been fantastic.”

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