Friday 18 April 2014

The €300m cost of Superstorm Christine

Tramore beach, Co Waterford, as storm-force winds and high tide arrived. Superstorm Christine has lashed almost all of the country. Dylan Vaughan

Superstorm Christine has left a trail of devastation in her wake, with an estimated bill of €300m.

The storm - thought to be the most prolonged and destructive storm experienced in two decades - was expected to ease today.

However, it has wiped away many coastal defences, washed away roads and destroyed buildings.

Coastal communities are counting the cost in the aftermath of the savage weather. Many have been left isolated by extensive floods and without power.

As severe winds reached 120kph in some areas, about 5,000 houses lost electricity and 11,000 electrical faults were reported to Eircom.

Met Eireann said it was the most prolonged storm since the 1990s as county councils across the country spent the day calculating how much essential clean-up operations will cost.

The astonishing damage included a large sinkhole which appeared on a street in Tramore, Co Waterford, caused by the savage waves battering the coast.

Four truckloads of concrete were poured into the hole in a bid to stabilise it, and more will be poured in today amid concern about the foundations of nearby apartment buildings.

Other worrying developments during the extreme conditions included:

* Two young men injured after being swept off their feet by strong winds in separate incidents in Cork and Dublin -- leaving one with a broken leg while the other narrowly avoided being swept out to sea.

* A rural community in Clare completely cut off, leaving four families stranded.

* A lighthouse on Inisboffin Island washed away by storm surges.

* In Lahinch, further sections of the promenade wall were smashed and sent flying across the flooded car park.

* Roads left impassable and in some cases swept away entirely, particularly in the west.

* ESB crews battling the strong winds to restore power, with Galway, Mayo, Clare, Kerry, Cork and Wexford the worst-affected counties.

Today's Irish Independent carries a four-page special on Superstorm Christine which details the damage wreaked by the storm across the country and how much it will cost to repair.

Caroline Crawford

Irish Independent

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