Airports and ferries hit as winds wreak havoc
Published 18/10/2011 | 05:00
FLIGHTS and ferry sailings were cancelled, buildings damaged and trees blown down as severe winds blasted the country yesterday.
More than 20 flights were cancelled or diverted as severe crosswinds blasted Dublin Airport during the afternoon.
Gusts of up to 100kph caused 14 flights to be diverted to Shannon, Cork and Belfast and another eight cancelled.
Aer Lingus was forced to scrap four incoming and four outgoing flights from the airport on routes to London Heathrow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham.
Ryanair said the high winds led to the diversion of two flights from Paris and Munich, however, both were eventually able to land in Dublin having diverted to other airports and refuelled.
A spokeswoman for the Dublin Airport Authority said the disruption lasted for around two hours in the afternoon but normal operations resumed at around 4.30pm.
"It was gusting right across the airfield so had an effect on aircraft landing and take-off," she added.
A number of Irish Ferries' Swift Fast Craft sailings between Dublin and Holyhead were also cancelled due to the high winds and rough seas.
At the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street, in Dublin, slates and lead from its roof were blown off.
Four cars were damaged in the car park to the rear of Leinster House, which is used by TDs, senators and Oireachtas staff. An Oireachtas Commission spokesman confirmed that nobody had been hurt by the falling slates.
A team from the OPW is due to inspect the roof today to assess the damage and a full safety review will also be carried out.
Elsewhere, a priest had a "miraculous" escape after a tree was felled in the severe winds and destroyed his car.
Fr John McEvoy, of Co Offaly, walked from the wreckage of his Toyota Prius unscathed following the incident on the outskirts of Tullamore at around 2pm.
"I must be the luckiest man in Ireland. I shouldn't be here," said the Mucklagh curate. "It's miraculous."
Along with the gale-force winds came heavy rain for the north and west with flash-flooding in Co Antrim.
Met Eireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly said a "vigorous" band of rain had passed down across the country very quickly yesterday bringing heavy falls of rain in the west, including 50mm at one weather station in Co Mayo, and 40mm at a Co Sligo station.
"An awful lot of rain fell very quickly. It (the rain) took 10 minutes getting across Dublin and was very cold behind it."
Today will see a mixture of showers and bright spells and while it will be breezy, the wind won't be as severe as yesterday. Temperatures will range from eight to 11 degrees.