The chaotic weather continues as a thunderstorm warning is issued across the country

Met Éireann has issued a thunderstorm warning across the country tonight.

The yellow status warning took effect immediately and will remain in place until 1 a.m. Thursday.

The forecaster has warned of heavy rains with the possibility of local flooding, as well as thunderstorms and lightning.

A separate orange status alert is currently in place for counties Dublin, Wexford, Wicklow and Waterford. Those areas experienced heavy rain, frequent lightning and disruption until the 11pm warning was lifted.

The latest warning follows a day when thunderstorms wreaked havoc across many parts of the country.

Smoke was seen from a wind turbine, leading to speculation that it may have been hit by lightning strikes off the Wicklow coast. Image: Amy Kinsella

Black smoke was seen from a wind turbine in Wicklow this afternoon, leading to speculation it may have been struck by lightning during the storm.

According to the Department for Transport, just after noon today, a vessel passing Arklow Bank reported seeing a wind turbine on fire.

The Dublin Maritime Rescue Coordination Center immediately contacted the turbine’s owner, GE Renewable Energy.

The company said that once conditions improve it will be able to assess the structure and determine what happened.

There were no people in the vicinity of the turbine, so there was no danger to life.

GE Renewables said the Coast Guard has been notified and has issued a radio navigation alert to warn vessels in the area.

Aidan Dempsey, Wicklow’s chief fire officer, said the fire service understood that the turbine could “burn itself out” because of the dangers a response to it would cause when “no lives were currently at risk”.

“The turbine is believed to have been struck by lightning. Those turbines should be decommissioned next year,” continued Mr. Dempsey.

An orange rain warning on the M11 near Bray, Co Wicklow this afternoon.  Image: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
An orange rain warning on the M11 near Bray, Co Wicklow this afternoon. Image: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Met Éireann is still warning of “heavy and prolonged” rainfall and the risk of local flooding.

The weather is likely to cause further disruption as the evening progresses and road users are advised to exercise caution and take no risks.

Elsewhere, the violent storm has hit the newly refurbished Leinster House.

Water was seen entering the Dáil chamber and the Seanad.

Fianna Fáil TD for Clare, Cathal Crowe was speaking when noticing the problem.

“The roof in the Dáil chamber leaked and drops of water came down. It kept dripping and I mentioned it during my speech because it was very obvious as I spoke that water was coming from above me,” he said.

Ushers have been in and out of the chamber keeping an eye on the situation.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Storm Armand will bring tropical rain and humid conditions to the country.

Evelyn Cusack, chief meteorologist at Met Éireann, said the storm – which is being named by Portugal’s meteorological agency – will bring more thunderstorm showers.

“Storm Armand will not bring us blustery winds, but will bring us very warm, humid, tropical air and more bands of heavy thunderstorm rain over the weekend.”

Cork escapes the worst of the rain

Walkers in the rain at The Lee Fields in Cork City.  Image: Larry Cummins
Walkers in the rain at The Lee Fields in Cork City. Image: Larry Cummins

After significant flooding over the weekend which saw 55mm of rain fall on Cork in just a few hours, Cork residents and business owners had been bracing for more heavy downpours since last night but fortunately this has not materialized.

High spring tides which have been increasing flooding in Cork city of late also passed without incident this morning.

Council crews checked drains and screens across the city last night to make sure they were clean.

A spokesman said drains are designed to retain a certain amount of dirt in their drain pots and still function normally.

“Only gutters that are filled with debris up to the top of the metal grid need to be cleaned,” he said.

“To help us respond to urgent issues, please do not report clogged gullies when water/sludge is visible in the pot, it is functioning normally.”

Heavy rains are likely to result in surface water and dangerous driving conditions, so motorists have been asked to drive carefully.

Sand and gel bags can still be collected from the public facilities on South Link Road.

And the council’s Customer Service Unit (CSU) has extended its hours today from 8am to 9pm to allow members of the public to contact the council with weather-related issues.

Further delay in flood defenses in Glanmire

Jack O'Callaghan Park in Riverstown, Glanmire has been hit by flooding many times in recent years.  Image Dan Linehan
Jack O’Callaghan Park in Riverstown, Glanmire has been hit by flooding many times in recent years. Image Dan Linehan

Meanwhile, the Cork-hit suburb faces another winter of fear after yet another delay in its €14million flood defense project.

The Office for Public Works (OPW) has confirmed that the Glashaboy River flood relief scheme in Glanmire, which was tendered just over a year ago, will have to be re-tendered, delaying the start of construction until late 2023.

Glanmire was inundated during Sunday’s yellow rain warning, which saw 55m of rain fall on the town in just five hours and overwhelmed the drainage system.

An orange rain warning is now in place in Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow which Cork authorities last night advised those in flood risk areas to use sandbags.

The Irish Examiner first reported in June that the Glashaboy program was in doubt because of rising inflation and construction costs.

But the OPW has now confirmed that new calls for proposals for the program will be issued before the end of the year.

“The tender documents for the procurement and designation of a contractor were issued in September 2021 with return date January 24, 2022,” it said.

“Unfortunately, Cork City Council has not been able to appoint a contractor to carry out the work on the basis of this procurement process.

“However, the Council is working to issue updated tender documents in Q4 2022 for work to begin in Spring 2023 and is working with key project partners to minimize the overall delay in completing this work.” Glashaboy burst its banks after heavy rains in June 2012, flooding 78 homes and 25 businesses and causing damage in the tens of millions.

The flood defense program has since been delayed several times due to EU law changes and other technical issues.

There was hope when it was confirmed by the Minister for Public Expenditure in January 2021 and the tender documents were issued later that year.

However, as the Irish Examiner reported in June, the preferred contractor raised serious concerns about the rising costs, which it believes could have added €3.5m to the cost of the programme.

The OPW was asked if it had allocated additional funds to the program, but would only say that it was committed to funding it.

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