Cheltenham - (Disaster Mess): Up to 50,000 Cheltenham Festival-bound Irish racegoers have been left stranded by the storm which threatens to deprive UK bookmakers of their annual mug-punters' £50 million rake-off.
All Irish seaports remain closed today and up to 90% of airports have cancelled flights in a desperate bid to stop the annual humiliation of the national betting fiasco.
"To be sure the weather's an absolute Godsend," Fr Fergus McShergar, racegoers' chaplain said today.
Meanwhile at the Cheltenham racecourse today the scene was looking grim.
Up to 100cm of overnight rain has flooded the track prompting Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse to issue gumboots to all jockeys.
Nearly all the VIP marquees have been destroyed by the vicious 20mph winds as well as much of the stabling.
A Met Orifice spokesman said today:
"Expect much worse to come."