Irish News

Monday 14 July 2014

Snow Joke: second Atlantic storm hits Ireland in 48 hours

Between 40,000 to 50,000 people will spend a third evening without power

Published 14/02/2014|13:18

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Between forty and 50,000 homes will spend a third evening without power tonight.

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ESB report every crew member available to be working on restoring power to homes across the country tonight.

The worst affected areas include Arklow, Enniscorthy, Killarney, Dunmanway, Bandon, Ennis, Tralee, Limerick, Roscrea, Newcastlewest and Tipperary.

Adverse weather conditions are hampering ESB's efforts to restore power, according to ESB's Divisional Manager for the South Denis Cambridge.

“Access is a big problem, with many faults located in isolated areas where ground conditions are treacherous and often very waterlogged," he said.

"It is difficult to get equipment to where it is needed most, and because many of the phone networks are down, we are finding it very difficult to communicate with crews in the field."

Crews have been drafted in from Northern Ireland to help ESB. Restoration efforts will continue at first light tomorrow morning.

14/02/2014 People make their way down Main Street Castlebar, Co. Mayo in heavy snow. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
14/02/2014 People make their way down Main Street Castlebar, Co. Mayo in heavy snow. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.

ESB customers without power should check for updates on www.esb.ie or telephone 18501372999, with their MPRN to hand for information regarding their location.

Updates will also be communicated on local radio stations.

Today, snow hit the west and the north of the country as Ireland experienced its second storm in just 48 hours.

The bad weather hampered clean-up efforts natuonwide.

Tonight, however, the violent gusts will calm early with scattered showers and forecast and isolated thunderstorms. It is expected to become windy everywhere again later in the night.

Bad weather conditions are set to continue but not to the same scale as we've experienced in the last few days.

Met Eireann's Ger Fleming said: "We're still in a period of very unsettled weather. Obviously quite a bit of wind and rain today but nothing like the wind we had on Wednesday".

"The weather is to stay very unsettled. We'll have some respite tomorrow. We'll have more rain in the latter half of Sunday and beyond that into next week.

"It’s basically every second day we’ll have another weather system which is typical of what we’ve been experiencing for more than two months now.

“There’s no let up in the general character of unsettled windy. and sometimes wet weather. and of course that’s a particular concern with the river levels already high that more and more rainfall is going to add to that particular difficulty."

Met Eireann have a Status Orange Flood Alert in place in select towns across the country today.

Meanwhile, Cork City Council have issued a tidal flood warning in the city centre and have advised people to prepare their homes and businesses for what could be more flooding this evening.

There are reports of flooding in Dublin's Sutton and on the Burrow road. Although the areas is passable, Gardai are advising people to stay out of the area if possible.

In Kerry, motorists are being asked to avoid Conor Pass, due to very icy conditions.

ESB has released a statement saying claims on social media that they are releasing water from Inniscara Dam are not true.

"It has come to our attention that there are rumours on social media saying that ESB is releasing water from Inniscara Dam contributing to the flooding in Cork.

"We wish to confirm that as of 2pm on Friday February 14th, ESB does not anticipate any significant releases from Inniscarra dam over the following twenty four hour period," it read.

There is also a Status Orange Wind alert in place in Munster.

But the country will remain safe from the dreaded 'Red Alert'.

“We don’t see any more (red alerts) in the next three or four days but we’ll have to watch carefully the storms as they come across the Atlantic. Most of them look to be normal winter storms but all of the have potential to turn really unpleasant and nasty," Mr Fleming said.

75,000 homes remain without power today as ESB workers continue to try and restore electricity in homes across the country.

More gale force winds, heavy rain moving up through the country and tidal flooding today means there will be little relief for thousands of people already affected by the storm conditions.

However the treacherous conditions seen earlier this week and in early February are not likely to be repeated.

Sean Hogan, who heads up the emergency group, said the conditions today were hampering the clean-up operation as well as efforts to return electricity and water supplies to homes around the country.

He said the response to Wednesday's storm would continue to be managed by local coordination centres where local authorities, the HSE and the gardai are working together.

"On the water issue, power has been restored to the vast majority of treatment plants or pumping stations either through the work of ESB generators or by installing generators where is a long term issue, Mr Hogan said.

"In those areas which are still without water supply, the drinking water incident response plans have been activated to supply water...particularly to health care centres; " he said.

People are advised not to venture out unless absolutely necessary while those out working are advised to be careful. Neighbours are asked to check on elderly or in firm people living nearby.

Garda Siochana have warned motorists to drive carefully on the country's roads during the treacherous weather conditions.

“Road users please exercise caution, slow down and light up,” they wrote online.

The south and east of the country are to expect severe gusts this afternoon and this evening.

Temperatures will hit 8 degrees Celsius today.

Read more: No respite as another storm moves in from Atlantic

In photos: In photos: Devastation as Storm Darwin batters country

In photos from the US: Deadly winter storm hits the US

Sam Griffin, Denise Calnan

Irish Independent

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