Lightning strike left 7,000 households without power in the south
Published 21/12/2013 | 02:30
Met Eireann have issued an Orange weather warning this morning as thunderstorms and hail showers hit the country.
A lightning strike damaged power lines in the south of the country leaving 7,000 households without power.
The main areas affected were Goresbridge in Kilkenny, Bandon and Macroom in Cork and Arklow, Co Wicklow.
Up to 3,000 homes have had their electricity supply restored but 4,000 homes remain without power.
ESB are hoping to have power restored to all homes by 5pm.
Elsewhere, Irish Ferries announced the cancellation of all Swift sailings because of adverse weather.
Passengers are advised to check the Irish Ferries website.
Tomorrow's sailing by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to Douglas has also been cancelled.
Gardai in Cork has also warning motorists to be wary of fallen tries across the county and are appealling nationally for motorists to take care in teh adverse conditions.
AA roadwatch are advising motorists that drivers should be cautious around Carrick-On-Shannon, Kilkenny City, Wexford Town and Naas, Co Kildare because of excess surface water and fallen debris.
The weather warning was issued at 7am this morning as areas across the midlands and east were hit by violent showers of rain and hail.
There is a Yellow weather warning for marine areas with southwesterly gales gusting up to 100km/h along the south coast.
Ireland is set for a blowy rather than a snowy Christmas as forecasters warn of storms over the festive period.
If it is a white Christmas you're looking for then you probably need to be in the north-west, where potential for snow is highest on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Met Eireann forecaster David Rodgers said the weather would be so volatile over the next five days "anything could happen". There is also the potential for another "significant" storm, and potential power cuts, on Monday as low pressure from the Atlantic sweeps across the west and north-west.
ESB networks said staff had been put on standby to work through Christmas if outages occurred.
A storm blasted across the country last night with wind gusts of up to 120km/h.
Power was cut to homes in Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Westmeath and Louth.
Motorists throughout the country faced difficult driving conditions, with traffic at a standstill in many cities and regional towns on the last shopping Friday before Christmas.
Irish Ferries have been forced to cancel many of their fast ferry services over the weekend due to weather conditions, though passengers will be accommodated on their regular ships.
The Jonathan Swift and MV Epsilon sailings on the Dublin to Holyhead route have been cancelled today and tomorrow. While a company spokesman said they are sailing with "full ships," there was still "plenty of capacity" to accommodate passengers on the MV Ulysses Holyhead service and the Isle of Inishmore on the Rosslare-Pembroke route in case of further disruption there.
Passengers have been advised to keep in touch via the Irish Ferries website.
In Cork, there were very strong cross winds and stormy conditions in many areas especially around Kealkill, Bantry, Drimoleague and Dunmanway. In Donegal, drivers were told to take extra care due to icy conditions on the N15 between Donegal and Ballybofey.
In Co Wicklow, icy road conditions left the Sally Gap impassable.
Met Eireann's orange weather alert for strong winds remains in place, with winds expected to gust up to 130kph as the stormy conditions continue to batter the country until Christmas Eve.
Mr Rodgers said the low pressure systems due to sweep in over the next five days had the potential to cause further disruption, adding to the misery caused by storms earlier this week.
"Saturday will see some very heavy showers and it will be very blustery, with the potential for wintry showers in the evening as temperatures drop, and the potential for some icy stretches on the roads," he said.
"There are some very disturbed weather patterns predicted through next week, with a potential for snow and sleet on Sunday in the north and west of the country."
He said Monday could be very stormy with severe squalls and more high winds and showers on Christmas Eve, some of them turning to snow in the north-west.
Christmas Day is expected to start frosty in most areas, with the exception again being Donegal and Sligo where there could be even more wintry showers.
And there will be no let-up on St Stephen's Day, with computer-based forecasting models showing the potential for another major storm that day.
An ESB Networks spokesman said that staff would be "working throughout the Christmas period to ensure supply to customers".
Eircom said 300 crews would work until Christmas Eve to repair faults.