Some 17,500 homes in the northwest of the country are without power due to a lightning storm this afternoon, ESB Networks has said.
Mike Fitzgerald from ESB Networks told RTE Radio's News at One today the areas most affected by the storm are Mayo, Achill, and Galway.
"All available crews" are working to restore power and fix transformers which were damaged by lightning. Crews are working to fix faults in 38 stations, he said.
ESB said it was hoping to restore power today to about 4,000 homes following outages due to overnight stormy weather conditions and severe lightning.
Almost 8,000 homes are without Eircom service today due to the weather disruption.
A storm packing winds of up to 130kmh crashed into the country overnight, sparking travel warnings for people making their way home for Christmas.
Gardai and travel organisations warned the latest winter storm will continue right through until 6pm today and will bring hail, sleet or snow to most areas of the country, with the west and northwest the worst affected.
“It is another very stormy period with severe wind gusts and the potential to cause damage,” said Met Eireann forecaster Nuala Carey. “It will also be bitterly cold with snow in places early on Christmas Eve before the winds subside later in the nigh.”
Christmas Day will be much quieter as the winds subside, she said, and although it will be bright and sunny in most parts, there is the potential for “a light dusting of snow” particular in the west, northwest, Midlands and the southeast.
Met Eireann has warned that there is snow and slush in Cavan and Monaghan, and motorists are being warned to watch out for falling debris as well in the storm.
The orange weather warning still remains in place as the storm passes over the country, but this may ease as the day continues.
AA Roadwatch said a quarter of all motorists — around 480,000 of them — were planning a trip to another county over the festive period. Spokesman Conor Faughnan warned that some motorists are ignoring safer driving advice. “When there is heavy snow and ice people can see it and mostly drive according to those conditions,” he said.
“However when we have a storm like this some motorists do not heed the warnings and it is every bit as dangerous and worse in these sorts of conditions,” he said.
Motorists were already being impacted ahead of the latest storm. Heavy rainfall resulted in widespread spot flooding across Cork city and county yesterday with the Dunkettle area badly impacted.
At one point, shallow flood waters covered the entire Dublin-Cork junction north of the Jack Lynch tunnel.
Floods were also reported in Douglas, Bandon, Fermoy, Cork city centre, Clonakilty and Macroom on the N22 Killarney road. Roads were reported blocked by trees in Ovens, Currabinny and Kilworth-Ballyduff.
Dr Colohan Road in Salthill will be closed from the Grattan road junction to the Aquarium until St Stephen’s Day.
After the respite in the storms on Christmas Day, another storm is now being forecast late on St Stephen’s Day and into Friday with the potential for another rare Red status alert, the second in the space of nine days.
ESB emergency crews will work through the festive season to restore power to homes cut off in the latest storm, whilst eircom says it will reconnect as many homes as possible before the end of today.
The Irish Coast Guard says crews will also work through Christmas to deal with any emergencies at sea.
FERRIES: Irish Ferries has cancelled fast ferry sailings today, with passengers once again being accommodated on conventional craft. Stena Line also said that its 2.15am sailing and 8.20am sailings have been cancelled.
TRAINS: Irish Rail said it would transport 400,000 people on inter-city services over Christmas, with regular services until 9pm tonight. Commuter services will operate a Saturday service, also until 9pm, except for passengers on the Newbridge/Kildare/Portlaoise where a regular service operates until 9pm. Passengers are urged to buy their tickets online at irishrail.ie to ease expected queues at stations. There will be no services on Christmas Day or St Stephen’s Day,
DART: The DART will operate a Saturday service today until 9pm. There will be no services on Christmas Day or St Stephen’s Day and a Saturday or Sunday service will be in operation until normal services resume on January 2.
DUBLIN BUS: Dublin Bus will operate Saturday services from today, however additional services will be in place on the busiest routes for this morning and on Friday for the start of the sales. There will also be extra services on Monday and on New Year’s Eve.
BUS EIREANN: Bus Eireann has cancelled dozens of services after 6pm on Christmas Eve including all Dublin Nightrider services. Some additional services have been added. A limited service will operate on St Stephen's Day and while services return on Friday, quite a number of buses have been cancelled. Passengers should check buseireann.ie before travelling to make sure the bus they want to get is operating over Christmas.