Ireland and UK – 100 People Rescued From Flash Floods, Roads and Bridges Destroyed

Emergency services in Northern Ireland were called on to carry out dozens of flood water rescues after heavy rain and flash flooding that began 22 August 2017. Flooding was also reported in neighbouring County Donegal, north west Ireland.

The severe weather moved across northern England causing localised flooding from 23 August, particularly in Yorkshire.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the counties of Londonderry and Tyrone were the worst affected.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure said the UK Met Office had confirmed that 63% of the average August rainfall fell in the affected areas within a 8-9 hours period.

Lough Fea in Cookstown, County Tyrone, recorded 55.2 mm of rain in 24 hours on 22 August, with most of it falling in a 4 hour period according to Met Office figures.

Two bridges were destroyed by the flooding; one near Carrickmore, County Tyrone, the second in Claudy, County Londonderry, according to the BBC. As many as 30 roads were damaged, cars were swept away and several buildings damaged or destroyed. The sports ground of Institute Football Club, Drumahoe, suffered severe damage. Buildings of Derry City Airport were flooded and flights to and from Derry cancelled.


Rescue services rescued 93 people trapped in floods. Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire and Rescue Officer, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said:

“Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) responded to 85 incidents as direct result of the heavy rainfall last night and into the early hours of this morning. 87% of these of the incidents occurred in Western Area. Firefighters rescued 93 people who were trapped by flood water either from their cars or from properties.

“Our Regional Control Centre received 402 emergency 999 calls between 7pm last night (22 Aug) and 4am this morning (23 Aug). At its peak time between 9pm and 11pm, RCC handled an emergency call every 45 seconds.

“Firefighters worked in extremely challenging circumstances to reach people. A number of roads were impassable due to flooding and Crews had to take alternative routes to attend some incidents.”

Emergency flood rescue in Northern Ireland, August 2017. Photo: NIFRS


Many people have been forced from their home by the flooding and accommodation has been provided by authorities and the Red Cross. Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure said in a statement:

“As a result of houses being flooded and motorists stranded, Derry City and Strabane District Council opened several centres to temporarily accommodate affected members of the public. These centres remained opened throughput the night. The Red Cross and the Western Health and Social Care Trust assisted in these centres during the night.”

Emergency Compensation

The government of Northern Ireland have put in place an emergency scheme for householders affected by flooding. Individual householders who have suffered severe inconvenience can claim a £1,000 payment from their local council.

Donegal, Ireland

North Donegal experienced very heavy rainfall late on 22 August resulting in extensive flooding on roads.

The Inishowen Peninsula was the worst hit with widespread road closures and properties flooded.  Met Éireann said that Malin Head, located on the Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal, received over 70mm of rain on 22 August.

According to Donegal County Council, 2 bridges were completely washed away either side of Quigley’s Point and a bridge near Buncrana was closed due to damage. Further damage assessments are due to be carried out.

Kevin “Boxer” Moran T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief in Ireland visited Donegal on 23 August to see at first hand the effects of the extreme weather event.

The Minister said, “I and the Government wish to convey our deepest sympathy to all those who have been affected by the impact of the flooding across the Inishowen Peninsula.  I know the effects of flooding on my own town and can fully empathise with everyone affected by this event.”

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Northern England

Thunderstorms and heavy rain across northern England on 23 August resulted in some flash flooding, particularly in North and West Yorkshire.

The Met Office said a weather station at Bramham, Leeds, West Yorkshire, recorded 40mm of rainfall in just 1 hour between 10:00 and 11:00. North Yorkshire County Council said rainfall gauges in Scarborough today have recorded between 30mm-40mm. The average recorded rainfall for Scarborough in August is 64mm.

Flooded roads were reported in Scarborough, York, Dewsbury and areas around Leeds.

North Yorkshire County Council said of the flood situation in Scarborough:

“Due to the large number of calls, a multi-agency Bronze Hub was set up, which allowed for life risk incidents such as people stuck in cars in floodwater and flooding to properties involving vulnerable people to be prioritised. The majority of the flooding incidents which have required a Fire Service response have now been dealt with.

“There was localised flooding and damage to numerous roads in the town as well as some closures. Localised flooding was also reported in areas of Ryedale, including Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Norton and Pickering.”

Flood Summary

Last updated: August 24, 2017
UK and Ireland, August 2017
August 22 to August 24, 2017
Urban flood, Flash flood
Extreme rainfall


A - Carrickmore (United Kingdom)
B - Derry Airport (United Kingdom)
C - Claudy (United Kingdom)
D - Drumahoe (United Kingdom)
E - Quigley’s Point (Ireland)
F - Buncrana (Ireland)
G - Bramham (United Kingdom)
H - Scarborough (United Kingdom)
I - York (United Kingdom)
J - Dewsbury (United Kingdom)


Rainfall level
70 mm in 24 hours
Malin Head, County Donegal - August 22 to August 22, 2017
Rainfall level
55.2 mm in 24 hours
Lough Fea, Cookstown, County Tyrone - August 22 to August 22, 2017
Rainfall level
40 mm in 24 hours
Bramham, Leeds, West Yorkshire - August 23 to August 23, 2017
Rain fell in 1 hour
Rainfall level
40 mm in 24 hours
Scarborough - August 23 to August 23, 2017
According to local council. Average for August is 64 mm


93 people
August 22 to August 23, 2017
4 bridges destroyed
Donegal, Tyrone and Londonderry - August 22 to August 23, 2017
30 roads were also damaged (Northern Ireland). Full damage assessments for Donegal not yet completed (as of 24 August).
50 people
Tyrone and Londonderry - August 22 to August 24, 2017
Estimated amount - local authorities set up temporary accommodation for those forced from their homes.