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Barra bashes West Cork

December 10th, 2021 4:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

County Council workers were on the scene early on Tuesday morning in Bantry after the town was flooded during Storm Barra

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Bantry counts cost of fourth flood in 18 months

STORM Barra battered Bantry on Tuesday, leaving 28 property owners to count the cost of the fourth flood event in just 18 months.

Across West Cork, other communities counted the cost too as severe and damaging wind gusts and heavy rain led to trees being toppled from Bandon to Beara, the flooding of roads with surface water and tidal surges, as well as fallen cables.

ESB crews worked hard to restore power outages in Allihies, Schull, Aughadown, Ballydehob, Castletownbere, Durrus, Dromleigh, Goleen and Dunmanway.

The outages also led to a disruption in water supplies in Drinagh, Glengarriff and Whiddy Island, while other areas, such as Skibbereen, had to switch to reserve storage supplies.

A spokesperson for Met Éireann confirmed a wind gust reading of 156km/h at the Fastnet lighthouse and 113km/h recorded at 6am on Sherkin Island, but he explained that the Fastnet reading is not comparable with readings, which are normally measured 10m above the surface.

The Status Red weather warning led to householders being placed on a different kind of lockdown for almost 24 hours, while shops, banks, businesses and transport services closed during the storm. Schools were also closed on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.

In Bantry, there was a small sense of relief that the full horrors of the August 2020 flood and the infrastructural damage caused by Storm Francis wasn’t revisited on the town.

Although high tide wasn’t until 6.40am the force of the storm winds resulted in the lowest part of the town, around New Street, and 28, mostly commercial, premises being flooded by several inches of water by 6am.

According to Bantry Fire Brigade station officer, Ian Vickery, the flood could have been significantly worse if it had not been for the giant sandbags placed by the Council on the Quay side. He said they prevented tidal flooding but could not prevent water coming up the drains.

Four fire brigade crews and two Council crews manned pumps at six locations throughout Wolfe Tone Square and held the surge.

According to the station officer, ‘It’s like bailing out a boat, it’s all down to whether or not you can bail faster than the water coming in and mother nature was stronger than all of us.’

While most people were staying home in accordance with the Status Red warning, the fire brigade and council crew remained on high alert in atrocious weather conditions until high tide passed without further incident at 7pm.

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