Saturday 27 December 2014

Over 160,000 still without power as nation reels from Storm Darwin

Published 13/02/2014 | 13:52

Part of a wall collapses on a parked car in Limerick. (Photo: Twitter/Cillian Flynn)
A woman in Dublin's city centre struggles with her umbrella as storms sweep across the country.
Pedestrians in Dublin's city centre struggle with their umbrellas as storms sweep across the country.
A large tree in blown down by the severe conditions in Wexford. Twitter credit: @DunbrodyHouse
Strong storms have caused extensive damage in Limerick City. Fire services and An Garda Siochana at the scene on Sarsfield Street, Limerick where high winds blew bricks away from the top of a building spreading debris out onto the road. Picture: Alan Place
A tree blocking a road in the west of the country
Strong storms have caused extensive damage in Limerick City. Fire services and An Garda Siochana at the scene on Sarsfield Street, Limerick where high winds blew bricks away from the top of a building spreading debris out onto the road. Picture: Alan Place
Falling trees brought down lines in the path of the Tornado in Athleague, Co Roscommon today. Photo: David Walsh
A tree landed on a car at Allen Square in Bandon, co Cork. Picture Denis Boyle
A van is crushed by a tree on the outskirts of Limerick city the Knocklisaheen Road on way to Meelick. Credit: Andrew Carey
A building in Limerick suffers serious damage during the storm. Twitter credit: AlanEnglish9
The roof is blown off the new dressing rooms at Cork Constitution Rugby Club. Twitter credit: @lensdan
A tree is uprooted in Limerick (Photo: Helen Enright)
Truck blown over in Kerry. (Photo via Twitter/ Deric Hartigan)
Tree blocks road on Carey's Road in Limerick City. (Photo: Paul Mullins)
Bracker O'Regan Road in Tralee. Photo: Twitter/@radiokerry
A woman shelters from the snow near Mount Street in Dublin. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
A lone walker battles against the elements in Lavey, Co. Cavan on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
A mother and child crossing the Square in Tuam after the town was hit by heavy snowfall. Photo: Andy Newman
The latest rainfall chart from Met Eireann
The Kenmare/Castletown Berehaven Road. Photo: Twitter/ @DavidMorrissey5
Articulated lorry overturned in storm force gales gusting at 160km/hr outside Camp on the main Tralee to Dingle road
City Council Depot in Moyross,Limerick wall crashes in storm. (Teresa Blake via Councillor Maurice Quinlivan on Twitter)
Trees fall over as storm lashes Limerick City. (Photo: Paul Mullins)
An Aer Lingus Regional commuter plane rests on it's left wingtip after being lifted off the ground in 150kmh winds at Shannon Airport. Pic: Press 22
Damage at Hainault Road, Foxrock, Dublin. Collins Photo: Michael Donnelly.
Damage at Hainault Road, Foxrock, Dublin. Collins Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Approximately 165,000 homes are still without power this afternoon as the ESB crews continued to work at restoring electricity in the aftermath of Storm Darwin.

Some homes are expected to be without power until late this evening and possibly a number of days, according to ESB, as they have worked “since first light” to repair nationwide electrical faults

"Our crews got a few hours sleep last night and were back to work at first light. We have imported all the crews we can – up to 2,000 network technicians and 300 damage assessors," Jerry O'Sullivan, MD at ESB told RTE Radio.

Mr O’ Sullivan said ESB encountered “hurricane conditions” and had a “mammoth task” ahead of them over the next few days.

"Massive trees and roofs of sheds are blocking our path – our crews are going to have to cut our way in to customers and that is going to take some time," said Mr O’Sullivan, with latest ESB updates revealing that there are currently 5,500 faults on the system. 

Last night Met Eireann issued a ‘Status Red’ warning for Leinster, Munster & Connacht" with damaging and dangerous winds, thunderstorms and spot flooding”.

Part of a wall collapses on a parked car in Limerick. (Photo: Twitter/Cillian Flynn)
A woman in Dublin's city centre struggles with her umbrella as storms sweep across the country.
Pedestrians in Dublin's city centre struggle with their umbrellas as storms sweep across the country.
A large tree in blown down by the severe conditions in Wexford. Twitter credit: @DunbrodyHouse
Strong storms have caused extensive damage in Limerick City. Fire services and An Garda Siochana at the scene on Sarsfield Street, Limerick where high winds blew bricks away from the top of a building spreading debris out onto the road. Picture: Alan Place
A tree blocking a road in the west of the country
Strong storms have caused extensive damage in Limerick City. Fire services and An Garda Siochana at the scene on Sarsfield Street, Limerick where high winds blew bricks away from the top of a building spreading debris out onto the road. Picture: Alan Place
Falling trees brought down lines in the path of the Tornado in Athleague, Co Roscommon today. Photo: David Walsh
A tree landed on a car at Allen Square in Bandon, co Cork. Picture Denis Boyle
A van is crushed by a tree on the outskirts of Limerick city the Knocklisaheen Road on way to Meelick. Credit: Andrew Carey
A building in Limerick suffers serious damage during the storm. Twitter credit: AlanEnglish9
The roof is blown off the new dressing rooms at Cork Constitution Rugby Club. Twitter credit: @lensdan
A tree is uprooted in Limerick (Photo: Helen Enright)
Truck blown over in Kerry. (Photo via Twitter/ Deric Hartigan)
Tree blocks road on Carey's Road in Limerick City. (Photo: Paul Mullins)
Bracker O'Regan Road in Tralee. Photo: Twitter/@radiokerry
A woman shelters from the snow near Mount Street in Dublin. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
A lone walker battles against the elements in Lavey, Co. Cavan on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
A mother and child crossing the Square in Tuam after the town was hit by heavy snowfall. Photo: Andy Newman
The latest rainfall chart from Met Eireann
The Kenmare/Castletown Berehaven Road. Photo: Twitter/ @DavidMorrissey5
Articulated lorry overturned in storm force gales gusting at 160km/hr outside Camp on the main Tralee to Dingle road
City Council Depot in Moyross,Limerick wall crashes in storm. (Teresa Blake via Councillor Maurice Quinlivan on Twitter)
Trees fall over as storm lashes Limerick City. (Photo: Paul Mullins)
An Aer Lingus Regional commuter plane rests on it's left wingtip after being lifted off the ground in 150kmh winds at Shannon Airport. Pic: Press 22
Damage at Hainault Road, Foxrock, Dublin. Collins Photo: Michael Donnelly.
Damage at Hainault Road, Foxrock, Dublin. Collins Photo: Michael Donnelly.

The vicious storm wreaked havoc when it ripped through much of the country with unexpected ferocity – leaving the nation to pick up the pieces today.

Commuters faced substantial delays this morning as battled the treacherous roads strewn with fallen trees and debris as they travelled to work.

An Garda Siochana and AA Roadwatch also warned drivers to be extremely cautious of falling snow, black ice and spot flooding on the roads today.

AA roadwatch's website crashed this morning for several hours as they experienced high volumes of traffic due to the adverse weather conditions.

Storm damage in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway. Sent in by Miguel Castro
Storm damage in Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway. Sent in by Miguel Castro
ESB linemen replacing a broken electricity pole at Forges Hill, Cork following storms which knocked out power across the country

Train passengers were also impacted as a number of Irish Rail services were substantially delayed or cancelled, with bus services required on routes including Tralee to Mallow and Limerick to Athenry.

Power outages at level crossings and weather related level crossing problems resulted in delays on services to and from Waterford, and on the Cork to Heuston route.

Irish Rail's Jenny Cregan said that the company was working overtime to cope with the damage.  "Over 100 people were out last night with chainsaws removing debris from the lines," she said.

Ongoing high winds also meant the cancellation of some services with Irish Ferries as the 14.15 Dublin to Holyhead and sailings between Rosslare and Cherbourg were called to a halt. 

University Hospital Limerick has today been attempting to clear as many beds as possible to cope with increased demand, with elective surgery has been cancelled for today. Several public Parks in Limerick City were also closed today for safety reasons.

A total of 13 AIB branches have closed today in some of the worst storm-affected locations, including outlets at Tipperary, Cashel, Kilrush, Mallow, Abbeyfeale, Bantry, Cahirciveen, Castleisland, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dingle, Dunmanway, Killorglin and Skibbereen.

Yesterday Bank of Ireland closed its doors at a number of locations due to power outages. Consumers have been advised to call ahead or contact their bank branch through Twitter before attending.

Miraculously, not one person was seriously injured in the storm last night. However, An Garda Siochana have asked people to call on elderly neighbours or those living alone to check on their welfare.

"Please be neighbourly and don’t assume others will," a garda spokesperson said.

St. Vincent de Paul’s John Mark Mc Cafferty said the society was “focusing of repairing heating in homes and keeping homes warm,” telling RTE Radio that the volunteers are seeing a lot of hardship across the south coast and the West.

“Volunteers are delivering bags of coal and assisting towards the cost of food and the invisible costs such as laundry expenses. Life goes on, people still need their clothes to be washed.”

“We are reacting as things arise, as people are calling our offices. We will be there in three weeks, in three months, to assist long after the immediate response is finished,” he promised.

Minister for Environment Phil Hogan told RTE Radio 1 this afternoon that the current devastation has “caused an awful lot of angst for a number of people” and reported that the €70m fund allocated to cope with storm damage was “always going to be an initial figure.”

“Met Eireann are talking about further bad weather over the next 24 and 48 hours.  We will continue to assess [the damage] and give an update to the Cabinet next Tuesday.

"This has been the fifth worst storm recorded in Irish history. And there is no point in giving a figure until we see the conclusion of events.”

The minister thanked the workers on the front line services for all their efforts and said “the level of co-ordination with the National Emergency Coordination Group has been exemplary”.

The co-ordination unit warned people about safety in the aftermath of the storm including using candles and open heating sources in the home.

Louise Kelly

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