A business owner in Midleton described her heartache today after her premises was badly damaged by floods for the third time in recent years.
A sudden onslaught of rain for two hours last evening saw 18 inches of water fall on Midleton’s Main Street, catching businesses unaware and forcing them into desperate action to save their stock. The southern end of the street was reeling today from the damage, with business owners up since first light cleaning up and counting the cost of the damage.
A cloud burst over the town causing the massive downpour as well as thunder and lightning from 6.30pm. Conditions eased from 9.30pm but at that stage the drains were unable to cope with the amount of rain.
Aisling O’Connor of A. O’Connor Opticians was facing her third clean up in recent years, and told the Evening Echo that she would now have to consider moving.
“We had the place renovated eight weeks ago with new carpets, new reception desk and the like.
“It is so frustrating to see it all over again. There was some stock damage as well as files damaged. The carpet will have to be replaced. I don’t know if its worth going through this again. I drove down from my home in Douglas this morning hoping against hope — but it was worse than I feared.
“I’m lucky to have such wonderful staff and customers who have been helping. It could be worse – at least nobody was hurt.”
Colleen O’Brien, salesperson at the O2 store on Main Street, rushed to the shop last night when she saw her friends post pictures on Facebook.
“Water was everywhere inside. Council and fire brigade staff were trying to keep it out — but it was no good. Passing traffic made it worse as it all rushed in as they passed. I’m dreading the weather tonight as it is forecast to be bad again.”
Store manager Irene O’Driscoll said: “Thankfully there is no extensive damage. Our stock is okay and we had the electrics turned off. But it is not something you would ever expect in June.”
Michael Coakley of Coakley Menswear was alerted in time to put up his own flood defences and his quick thinking saved his stock.
“I got away with it. I was able to prepare but others weren’t. It is a shame for them.”
Staff at Midleton Town Council were performing routine street maintenance when the flooding started.
One told the Evening Echo that he had not seen anything like it in decades.
“It came all at once and took everyone by surprise. We were washing footpaths and it started to come down in sheets. The high tide went against us and we didn’t stand a chance.
“We were here until 1am trying to get the water to subside and the drains unblocked. Never have I seen anything like it.”
And Midleton wasn’t the only part of east Cork his by floods yesterday. Carrigtwohill locals witnessed a monsoon last night — but avoided any major flood damage.
Carrigtwohill Community Association member, Anthony Barry, said: “I was painting the house at 4pm and the weather was fine, the forecast was good too. I’m a farmer, so I’m always looking at the forecast.
“But by 5.30pm the rain came down like I’d never seen before. The paint was running down the side of the house.
“I reckon an inch of rain fell in a very short space of time. The thunder and lightning was unbelievable too. At one point, it looked like it passed over us and then came back for more.”
The village, just a few miles from Midleton, escaped major flooding.
“The drains seemed to handle it okay. We are up a bit higher than Midleton too, so we didn’t get hit as badly,” said Mr Barry.
Minor spot flooding also occurred in Youghal and Castlemartyr but there were no reports of any serious damage.
A Met Éireann spokesperson said that it was a not completely uncommon to see such a cloud burst phenomenon during a thunderstorm.
However, he said that the entire county, including Midleton, should be on alert as there was 50mm of rain expected tonight and that the local authorities had been warned to be on alert.