Heavy rain forces Sion Mills residents to flee homes
Around 30 houses in Sion Mills hit by floods
Residents in Sion Mills forced to flee their homes after a flash flood on Sunday said they have never experienced rainfall like it.
Around 30 homes in the County Tyrone village were affected by the flood caused by surface water and the drainage system being overwhelmed. Among the areas worst hit was Parkside Gardens.
Margaret McGranaghan was alerted by the sound of water gurgling up through her shower drain.
Ms McGranaghan said: "When the heavy rain came on I actually closed the curtains because I didn't want to look out at it, but then I heard a noise and went out to the bathroom.
"The water was coming up the shower drain, gurgling and flowing out into the hall and into the kitchen.
"I went to open the back door but for some reason I didn't, and thank God I didn't because it was right up to the back door. If I had I would be in a much worse situation now, but unfortunately my neighbours did and their house is completely destroyed.
"My parents lived in this house for 30 years before me and nothing like this has happened here before."
Rosemary Waring's home, also in Parkside Gardens, will need extensive repair work after the flood water rushed in through her front door, reaching knee height within seconds.
Ms Waring suffers from ill health. She needs medical equipment to help her breathing and has restricted mobility, so was unable to leave her home on Sunday night despite the devastation.
Her daughter Mary Mullen, who was visiting at the time, recalled how the force of the raging water outside her mum's home almost swept her off her feet.
She said: "It was shocking how fast the water rose at the front of my mother's house. We could see it coming down the street and on to the footpath but in no time it was like an actual river and the back of the house was just as bad.
"I couldn't believe how fast it was flowing, it almost knocked my off my feet it was coming so hard. It was up to my knees, the garden furniture was almost completely underwater so we ran back and got foam mattresses, towels, sheets, everything we could get to try and block the water from coming under the front door but there was just too much."
A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive said 12 of their properties were affected by the flood and that of these, three families needed emergency accommodation.