LAOIS Fire Service personnel and Gardaí were exceptionally busy on Monday morning as they responded to several emergency calls following the freak monsoon like rainfall that led to road collisions and flash floods across the county.
“Six of our eight crews – at Portlaoise, Rathdowney, Mountmellick, Mountrath, Abbelyleix and Stradbally – were busy on call outs from before 7am on Monday as severe flooding in several locations caused problems for commuters and householders,” explained Acting Chief Fire Officer Declan Power. Sand bags were used to protect homes from rising water, while there were at least three reported minor road accidents.
And with Met Eireann issuing a warning of further heavy rainfall to come in the days ahead, Mr Power appealed to motorists to make allowance for the road conditions and if they are driving into areas of road where water is lying to be extremely careful.
While a spokesperson from Portlaoise Garda Station urged a similar note of caution. “Motorists need to be very careful when faced with surface water and take into consideration how deep the water may be before attempting to drive through it. We also appeal to people to drive slowly and to basically allow more time for their journey.”
A section of the M7 Dublin/Limerick Road was closed for two hours between junction 18 Portlaoise West and junction 21 Borris-in-Ossory following a crash and subsequent fuel spill.
While fooding in the left lane of the M7 both ways between junction 19 M8 and junction 21 Borris in Ossory meant motorists had to use the right lane only.
Accidents also occurred at Aghaboe and Kilbricken due to the volume of road surface water but fortunately no one sustained serious injuries.
For a time on Monday the Ballacolla to Borris-in-Ossory Road (R434) was impassable and there was also heavy flooding on the Durrow to Horse and Jockey Road (Old N8/R693) near Cullahill and also around parts of Mountmellick, Rosenallis and Errill.
Rail commuters were also hit by delays of up 30 minutes on Monday after a fork lightning eletricial storm affected signalling at Portarlington railway station.
There were delays in both directions with the Cork/Dublin, Portlaoise/Dublin, Galway/Dublin and Westport/Dublin services all hit.
An Iarnród Éireann spokesperson apologised for the inconvenience caused to commuters. The problem has since been rectified with all services resumed.