Fallen trees and power outages hampering clean-up as Storm Darwin moves north
Storm Darwin is making it's way northwards through the country with the south of the country which bore the brunt of the storm now counting the cost of the damage.
Families across the southern half of the country will spend this evening in darkness with outages spreading from Kerry to Wexford and ESB expecting that 200,000 customers will not have their power restored until the morning.
The ESB has said that they are working to repair 3,400 seperate faults across the country.
Five 38kV stations in the south of the country each ach supplying between 5 -20,000 customers (Bruff, Ballineen, Enniskeane, Gurranebane, Dingle) have lost supply.
Jerry O’Sullivan, Managing Director of ESB Networks said, “The electricity network has sustained extensive damage as a result of today’s storms, and we are dealing with a situation that is as bad if not worse than anything that we have seen in the past decade.
“ESB Networks crews have been working throughout the day to restore power, however extremely dangerous conditions are hampering their efforts and will mean that up to 200,000 customer may be without power overnight.
“In December, gusts of up to 130km per hour caused widespread damage to the electricity network and left 80,000 customers without power. The devastation caused by today’s storms is of a totally different order of magnitude, and will take longer to repair.
“We are mobilising crews from across the country to the worst affected areas and will be doing everything possible to restore power to customers as quickly as we can. However, customers who need a constant supply of electricity for medical or other purposes are advised to make alternative arrangements. Right now, safety is our number one priority and we are asking members of the public to report any safety concerns relating to the electricity network to our emergency line at 1850372999."
Shannon Airport has resumed operations after they had been suspended today after a stationary plane tipped over due to the high winds. There has sustained some structural damage.
Operations at Cork Airport are slowly returning to mormal but customers are advised to visit the airport website before arriving.
The winds were so severe in Cork and Kerry earlier today that the wind speed came within two knots of hurricane status.
Council staff are continuing to clear roads of falling trees and many buildings has been damaged with roofs literally peeled off buildings.
Students at University College Cork and the University of Limerick were warned to stay indoors today to wait until the storm abated because of the danger of flying debris.
In Limerick, part of a building on Sarsfield Street has collapsed and the roof of the Shannon Rowing Club on Honan’s Quay caved in. Sarsfueld Street is expected to remain closed until 9pm.
University Hospital, Limerick said it was expecting 14 ambulances to arrive by 5.30pm with injuries caused during the storm.
The hospital is attempting to clear as many beds as possible to cope with the increased demand for services.
Elective surgery has been cancelled for Thursday.
City and Expressway bus services in Galway have resumed after being suspended due to high winds.
The Westside Library in the city has been evacuated after a number of windows at roof level were blown in.
The library has a number of large glass panes and there a fears more could be damaged in the strong winds.
In Cork, the roof of the new dressing rooms at Cork Constitution Rugby Club were torn off while in Kilkenny there were reports that part of the stand in Nowlan Park had also been blown away.
A section of the roof of a new, €7m swimming pool in New Ross was also blown off in the high winds.
Residents of the Killarney Nursing Home in Co Kerry were evacuated after the building was badly damaged by debris which came off the roof of a neighbouring building
Children in a national school have had a narrow escape after the roof was blown off a prefab classroom.
Storm force gales gusting at 160km per hour blew the roof off the building at Listellick National School near Abbeydorney in Co Kerry.
Miraculously nobody was injured in the incident.
Part of the roof of the Brandon Hotel in Tralee was also blown off and landed on cars in a nearby carpark.
There were also reports of a small tornado in Athleague in Co. Roscommon.
Met Eireann has not received reports or pictures but said it is very likely that tiny tornados called 'squalls' could appear today.
In Clare, the council has said that council staff, gardai, fire services and Clare Civil Defence are dealing with 150 incidents around the country .
An emergency number - 1890 252 943 - has been established for members of the public to report fallen trees, blocked roads and flooding. This number will be operational until 7.30 p.m.
There are no figures as to the cost of the latest storm but it is likely to run into the millions.