Belfast Telegraph

In Pictures and Video: Floods sweep through Northern Ireland

Eighteen people had to be ferried to safety on boats after floods swept through a Co Tyrone village, leaving residents trapped in their homes.

A specialist rescue team was deployed after the River Cloughfin outside Beragh burst its banks, sending water gushing down the streets and causing widespread damage.

Dozens of residents had to find alternative accommodation after being forced to evacuate their homes.

West Tyrone was the worst affected area, with two children among the 18 people who had to be rescued by boat in Beragh.

A £1m GAA hall belonging to the local club, Beragh Red Knights, was badly damaged.

Club chairman Gerard Treacy said it was a scene of devastation.

“There is just total and utter devastation around the area this morning,” he told the Belfast Telegraph. “The water came out about 20 feet either side of the bridge on the way in to the village and just poured down into the two housing estates, Riverdale and The Meadows.

“There must be 20 to 30 houses there that have been just saturated.”

This is the second time which the club’s facilities — which only opened in 2008 — have been damaged by floods.

“It’s absolutely soul destroying,” he added.

“It flooded in 2008, it has flooded again last night, and it has come very close to flooding a few times in between as well.

“Looking down at it there seems to be a metre of water around the building.

“The power of the water even lifted up our 2,000-litre oil tank. It’s gone — it must have floated away somewhere.

“You can’t imagine how bad it was at its height last night.”

Mr Treacy said the village flood defences were not fit for purpose.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill is expected to visit the village this evening to meet with affected residents.

However, there is good news on the horizon with the weather expected to improve.

Why is it so wet?

Heavy rain has beaten down relentlessly across Northern Ireland for two solid days, and more rain is forecast for later today. So why is this happening?

Weather and climate expert Philip Eden said the current weather systems bringing the rain were taking longer to move on. “Our rain-bearing systems come from the Atlantic and normally, when the winds are westerly, these systems last three to four hours,” he said.

“However, this October there has been an absence of westerly winds which means that weather systems moving in from the Atlantic are slow-moving. “As a result, these systems are lasting 24 to 36 hours, bringing sustained periods of heavy rain.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph