Irish News

Saturday 2 August 2014

Time to prepare for the Big Freeze

Published 15/02/2014|08:27

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14/02/2014 Dervla Leonard with Twins Amy and Ava aged 8 in the snow in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
14/02/2014 Dervla Leonard with Twins Amy and Ava aged 8 in the snow in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
Picture posted by the ESB this morning showing power lines down
14/02/14 Rough weather conditions in Dunlaoghaire, Co Dublin this afternoon. Pic STEPHEN COLLINS/Collins
14/02/14 Rough weather conditions in Dunlaoghaire, Co Dublin this afternoon. Pic STEPHEN COLLINS/Collins

The stormy weather has abated – but temperatures are set to plunge this evening, Met Eireann has warned.

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A widespread sharp to severe frost will form, along with icy stretches on untreated roads.

The warning comes as ESB Networks and Eircom crews are continuing to work throughout the day to fix faults and phonelines damaged since Superstorm Darwin on Wednesday.

ESB says up to 25,000 customers and businesses will remain without power tonight.

By tonight, power will have been restored to some 245,000 customers since Wednesday.

Around 35,000 homes and businesses will have had their power restored today.

However, ESB has warned that it may be Tuesday or Wednesday before full restoration of power has been achieved.

Efforts by ESB crews to restore power were hampered by high winds yesterday.

Met Eireann has warned of spot flooding following heavy rainfall overnight.

Heavy showers will become less frequent today and no major storms have been forecast for the coming days.

However, sub-zero temperatures are expected tonight.

Met Eireann say temperatures will range between minus three and one degrees.

A widespread sharp to severe frost will form, along with icy stretches on untreated roads, Met Eireann say. Mist will also developer during the night - and occasional showers will hit parts of the country in the south and west early tomorrow.

However, the national forecaster also points out that this would be in keeping with average temperatures for this time of year.

Paul Mulvaney, Customer Services Manager with ESB said in a statement today that the speed of power restoration will slow tomorrow since trees will need to be removed.

“Although good progress has been made today, the speed of the restoration process is likely to slow down tomorrow as the average number of customers affected by each individual fault drops.

“A huge number of the remaining faults have been caused by trees falling on lines, so it could take a crew half a day to remove the branches and repair the line, yet they might only restore power to two or three customers.” 

It will be early next week before all of the isolated faults, affecting some 6,000 individual customers  around the country, will be repaired.  

ESB Networks has said it will prioritise the vulnerable customers, who have been registered by their suppliers, in working through these faults.  

“The improved weather conditions have helped crews today, however ground conditions are still extremely bad with many areas completely waterlogged, so access is still very difficult.”, said Mr. Mulvaney. 

“We are very conscious of the challenges facing our customers who are struggling to go about their daily lives without electricity and we are doing everything humanly possible to  make our way through the work. It is a hard grind, but we are making progress and we’ll keep going until everyone has their power back.”  He said.

ESB Networks has urged those who come across fallen lines, or those who are working on the clean-up operation, to take particular care if they are working in the vicinity of power lines.

Irish Independent

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