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Friday 19 September 2014

Thousands without electricity as storm lashes the country

Published 27/01/2014 | 02:30

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COASTAL areas have taken another heavy battering as winds of up to 130kph swept the country leaving some homes without power and causing hazardous driving conditions.

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Met Eireann said that the severe weather warning would remain in place for many parts of the country today, with the potential for it to be upgraded to a 'Red' warning if conditions worsen.

A status orange wind warning was in place for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Kerry and Limerick throughout yesterday.

ESB crews worked yesterday to restore electricity with around 2,000 homes without power in pockets throughout the country, but crews had managed to restore supply to well over half of those affected by lunchtime.

In Co Galway alone, more than 500 ESB customers were without electricity yesterday.

The worst affected areas included Renvyle and Clifden, where over 350 customers were without power.

Parts of west Mayo were similarly hit as the high winds tore down power lines and left customers in the dark.

Siobhan Ryan, a Met Eireann forecaster, warned the winds will only really "begin to ease off" tomorrow.

"But even at that stage there is still the risk of scattered heavy, squally thundery downpours. The weather is very unsettled," she explained.

"Winds remain very strong today. There will be a band of very heavy showers moving down across the country.

"If you are on that arc of precipitation the rain could be very persistent with spot flooding. Everywhere is at risk of heavy downpours," she warned.

The forecaster said the winds should drop tomorrow although it will remain blustery in some parts of the country.

Wednesday and Thursday look like they will experience the best weather this week, but it may be somewhat cooler and there may be frost.

Later in the week, it looks like a return to unsettled weather, with rain and colder conditions once again, she said.

Meanwhile, significant waves of 10 metres high were recorded yesterday in the north-west, west and south-west.

An Irish Coast Guard spokesman warned: "People have recently been taking photographs quite close to the shoreline – that is extremely dangerous.

"In view of the weather forecast with very high winds, high seas and swells, we are advising people to remain away from exposed areas such as coasts, cliffs, piers, promenades and harbour walls", the spokesman said.

AA Roadwatch advised motorists to slow down and to be mindful of motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians and the strong possibility of debris on roads, especially less travelled routes.

There were also reports of trees down throughout the weekend as gale-force winds swept through the country.

The fire service reported being notified of a number of trees down, including one in Abbeleix in Co Laois yesterday morning.

A tree also fell during the high winds at New Ross Rugby Club in Co Wexford.

Irish Independent

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