According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, torrential rainfall has caused widespread disruption and damage on both sides of the Irish Sea, although the Dublin area has been the hardest hit. The flooding was triggered by an active frontal wave moving north to south through eastern Ireland. Flood waters have inundated Dublin and surrounding counties, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes and businesses. Sandbags were deployed in coastal regions as there were fears a late high tide would penetrate low-lying areas. Flooding backed up drainage systems and caused transportation disruptions in the southwest of England, as well- an area still recovering from significant flooding last year.
According to AIR, the flooding was triggered by an active frontal wave moving north to south through eastern Ireland. This marked the boundary between warm and humid air from southern Europe, and colder air from the Atlantic Ocean. This frontal rainband moved northwards, bringing copious amounts of precipitation in a short period of time. Areas in Dublin were reporting precipitation totals between 50mm and 100mm in just three hours on Monday, as much as was recorded in the entire preceding month for the region.
According to the Irish Meteorological Agency, a precipitation station near the Dublin Airport recorded 69.1 mm and a station near the Casement Aerodome recorded 82.2 mm. In Ireland, the Camac, the Poddle, and the Sland rivers topped their banks. Flood alerts are in effect for Cornwall and Devon in the southwest of England, the northeast of Scotland around Dundee and Aberdeen, throughout Wales.
Hundreds of residential properties have been flooded throughout Dublin with the southern part of the city the most extensively impacted. Dundrum Town Centre, a major shopping area located in South Dublin, has been submerged under water. Dublin’s infrastructure has also been severely impacted. Power outages and rising water levels have caused large scale disruption to transportation with rail transport systems experiencing severe delays and line closures. Road closures were also widespread throughout the city and many of the main routes into and out of the city were submerged under feet of water
Elsewhere, county Tyrone was hard hit with significant flooding to residential properties, forcing the evacuation of people from their homes. Parts of Belfast were also impacted by localized flooding and major transport links experienced disruption. In the village of Par in Cornwall, flooding overflowed a drainage system, causing a back-up into the streets. This is the same area that was impacted by a significant flooding event in 2010. Nearby, in Devon, there were numerous road closures and the seafront area was under high alert as strong onshore winds and a high tide compounded the already soggy conditions.
According to AIR, the band of heavy rainfall currently spreading from northwestern France is expected to move north-northeast over the UK during the next few days. There is some concern that this precipitation shield will cause additional flooding, particularly in the south-southwest where the soil is already wet.
The current flood event has primarily impacted the Dublin area. AIR will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as warranted.