February 23, 2024
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By Barra Best

In Leitrim Village, County Leitrim, a tornado caused damages to buildings and vehicles.

The incident occurred early Sunday morning as heavy rainfall passed over the region.

Online footage and photos show that some people have been forced to find alternative accommodations after a “freak event”.

The warning came at the same time as the West Coast of Ireland was issued with severe wind warnings, which included, briefly, an orange warning, the most serious weather alert.

Paddy Farrell is a Leitrim County Councillor.

When the tornado hit, Mr Farrell drove through the village.

I missed it by just a few moments. “I was lucky”, he told me.

I drove to avoid it, otherwise my car could have suffered serious damage.

I don’t believe anyone was seriously hurt. Thankfully, the roof has been removed from a building and many cars were damaged.

There’s debris on the road and emergency services have arrived.

Photographer Willie Donnellan told Irish broadcaster RTE he was a witness of the incident and heard lightning as well as a loud bang Sunday afternoon.

The tornado blew down a line of trees and ripped the roof of a house off.

According to Mr. Donnellan, the incident lasted around 30 seconds.

BBC News NI quoted local resident Paddy Cunningham as saying: “I noticed street lighting flickering and electricity out in the building.”

When Mr Cunningham first saw the damages, he believed that there was either a gas blast or lightning.

He said, “I saw people running with their hands over their heads shouting and screaming – it looked like an explosion.”

There was damage all over the place and many people were trying to clean up the streets to remove cars and make it safer for everyone.

Seamus Gibbons owns an electric bike store in this village on the River Shannon. He claimed he’d “never witnessed anything like it”.

He said that six boats had been overturned in the marina.

It was a carnage. “My roof was torn and slates were removed.”

The gable of his building had been smashed and the roof from the building behind it was half ripped off. He said: “I still don’t know where the pieces landed.”

The people who lived in the apartment over my store had to leave and I will have to close the shop for some time.

On Sunday evening, the Gardai and other emergency services remained at the site of the accident.

Gardai announced that the village is closed, and asked people to avoid the area.

Leitrim County Council stated that it “responded in response to an freak weather event, which took the form of tornado”.

The council said that staff from the fire department, Roads Department, Civil Defence, and gardai attended.

The council released a press release saying that “a number vehicles and property in the village have suffered substantial damage. One building’s roof was completely removed and other buildings had roof damage.”

The council provided alternative housing for some residents who needed it.

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