Heavy rain leads to 'unprecedented' flooding in Co Laois

Laois County Council is warning that "extreme caution" should be taken in the Mountmellick area

Heavy rain leads to 'unprecedented' flooding in Co Laois

File photo of sandbags. Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated 21.05

At least 30 families have been evacuated from their homes in the Co Laois town of Mountmellick.

It comes after the Owenass River burst its banks earlier.

The flooding is affecting two housing estates in the town, and local authorities are urging drivers to avoid the area.

In a statement, the council said: "Roads crews, Civil Defence crews and Fire Service crews are in attendance. 

"Members of the public are requested to observe road closure signs, drive appropriately and not attempt to drive through flooded areas."

The council is also warning residents in the Portarlington area that water levels in the River Barrow "are high as a result of the recent heavy rainfall and are expected to rise further over the next six hours".

Cllr Padraig Fleming is Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, and he explained: "If the houses are flooded... you know the effect of flooding.

"We've seen it throughout Ireland in various places. It destroys houses."

He said flooding has hit Mountmellick this evening in an "unprecedented way".

A status yellow rainfall warning remains in place for Munster and Leinster until 10pm tonight.

Many parts of the country experienced heavy rain all day, leading to major delays on roads like the N3 and M4.