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Friday 24 March 2017

Thousands left without power as country hit by tail of hurricane

Spray
from waves engulf a car at Strangford Lough
Spray from waves engulf a car at Strangford Lough
A man is drenched as he waits for a bus in Sutton, Dublin, yesterday
A boat that broke free from its moorings in Sutton
Cars in a flooded carpark in Salthill, Galway

Greg Harkin and Brian McDonald

THOUSANDS of homes were left without power, dozens of trees were felled and travel was severely disrupted yesterday as the powerful remnants of Hurricane Katia swept across the country.

Winds gusting to more than 100kmh hit Ireland as the tail-end of the destructive hurricane took its toll mainly on the western and north-western counties.

The highest gust of 137kmh was recorded on Arranmore Island in Co Donegal, where three schools were forced to close for the day.

More than 13,000 homes in six different counties had electricity cuts -- with half of these in Donegal.

The ESB worked hard to restore customers but yesterday evening, as customers in the north-west had their power restored, high winds cut supplies across Meath and north Dublin.

"Our repair crews have been dispatched and are working to restore supply to these customers," an ESB spokeswoman said.

Disrupted

Travel was also severely disrupted as trees were blown over in several locations in Galway, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Longford and Mayo.

The N59 Galway to Clifden route was closed for a number of hours at Oughterard after a large tree fell across the road, while two other trees were blown over at Killanin.

In Galway city, early-morning motorists had a narrow escape when a large tree fell across the Monivea Road, close to the Thermo King plant.

The AA reissued warnings to motorists last night as flying debris was a major cause for concern on the N18 Galway-Limerick road throughout the day.

Motorists were also warned not to tailgate during the stormy weather and drivers of HGVs and buses were warned to take care as they were more at risk in strong cross winds due to the height of their vehicles.

Ferry crossings, flights and coastal rail services were also disrupted.

P&O Ferries cancelled a number of crossings between Irish ports and Britain. Some Dart services to Bray and Greystones were disrupted because of damage to power lines.

Flights were also affected at Shannon Airport, where winds reached speeds of 85kmh at times. An Aer Lingus flight from London Heathrow was forced to abort one landing after the crew received a wind-sheer alert in the cockpit.

Two Dublin-bound Ryanair flights were forced to divert to Shannon because winds in Dublin were reported to have reached 116kmh.

The west coast was locked down as high winds raged. Most of the western fishing fleet was tied up at Rossaveal, Co Galway, while others remained berthed at Galway harbour.

Galway Harbour Master Captain Brian Sheridan said the storm was Category 10 to Category 13, which gave it hurricane status. He described the situation as "pretty severe".

Meanwhile, a number of people were injured yesterday after they ignored warnings about the dangerous conditions at the Cliffs of Moher and ended up being swept off their feet.

Management at the popular attraction had advised visitors not to venture up around the cliffs because of the "extremely hazardous conditions".

Several people ignored the management's warnings, however, and as a result a number of people suffered falls and sustained minor injuries on the cliffs.

Met Eireann says conditions will be stormy again today, particularly in the west and north west with gusts of up to 80kmph.

Irish Independent

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