Monday 20 May 2019

Thousands of homes and firms without power as Storm Eleanor strikes

Two orange status - the second highest - weather warnings have been put in place
Two orange status - the second highest - weather warnings have been put in place

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the island of Ireland have been hit with blackouts caused by Storm Eleanor.

In the Republic high winds left at least 55,000 properties with no power as games swept in from the Atlantic.

In Northern Ireland about 21,000 customers, mainly across the border counties, were facing cuts to electricity supplies for the a night.

Flooding hit Galway city, Salthill, Oranmore and Clarinbridge as high tides combined with gales gusting to 130kmh during rush hour. Some cars were abandoned in Oranmore as roads were blocked while others in a car park in Salthill were partially submerged. Trees, branches and other flying debris were reported as having brought down power lines and poles.

ESB Networks said that counties worst affected in the Republic included Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan. In Gort, Co Galway households were warned about potential disruption to water supplies after power cuts hit the local pumping station.

In Galway, streets around the docks were flooded after high tides breached defences and inundated the areas around the Spanish Arch, Claddagh, Dominick Street, Quay Street and nearby streets. Water was more than one foot deep in places.

The Coast Road from the city to Oranmore was also impassable at rush hour as high tide combined with the strong winds to cause local flooding. There were also reports of spot flooding on the N85 Ennis to Ennistymon road in Co Clare.

Irish Water said ESB crews were on site but it would take several hours to get supplies back up again.

"We ask customers in the Gort area who have a mains water supply to conserve their water until the electricity supply is restored and the pumping station is back in full production," said a spokeswoman.

ESB Networks said its crews were working to get people reconnected "where it is safe to do so".

"Aiming to restore as many customers as possible tonight, they will deploy again before first light tomorrow," a spokesman said.

"Further damage to the electricity network can be expected in north Leinster as the storm tracks east. Fallen trees on overhead lines are responsible for most of the damage to the network."

NI Electricity said the number of reported power outages will increase through the night.

Julia Carson, NIE Networks communications manager, said: "We advise customers to keep mobile phones charged and have batteries available for torches in case they experience power cuts.

"NIE Networks will be working into the night to do all that we can to restore electricity supplies to our customers as quickly and safely as we can.

"Safety is paramount and there are some areas where the high wind speeds may impact on our ability to assess the damage and carry out repairs."

Press Association

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