Ferries stranded and homes left in dark
THOUSANDS of homes were left without power and trains delayed for up to 40 minutes after a severe winter storm blasted through the country early yesterday morning.
The ESB said that more than 3,000 homes in Meath and Donegal were cut off from electricity supplies as gusts of up to 127kmh were recorded.
While the worst of the storm hit the north west and east coast, Ireland escaped relatively unscathed compared with the UK.
No flights were disrupted, but Irish Ferries was forced to cancel fast crossings on the Jonathan Swift and scheduled services on the Oscar Wilde, with passengers accommodated on the MV Ulysses which was also hit with delays.
DART and commuter services were delayed by up to 40 minutes. Met Eireann said that gusts of 70 knots were recorded in Malin Head in Donegal – equivalent to almost 130kmh.
"The very strong severe winds are abating and it will be quiet for the next few days," forecaster Joan Blackburn said.
"There was a 70 knot gust in Malin Head, just touching 130kmh, but that was extreme. Generally the gusts were between 100kmh and 120kmh, and they probably peaked around 10am yesterday morning."
The weather will improve for the weekend and be predominately dry with patches of rain across the western seaboard.
The ESB said power outages began from early yesterday in Ballybofey, Co Donegal, where 800 customers were affected.
By 9am, 2,500 customers across the county in Letterkenny, Moville and Buncrana were affected, but power was restored to 1,300 by lunchtime.
There was also problems in Delvin, Co Westmeath, where 800 homes were affected, and another 1,100 in Trim, Co Meath.
More than a thousand homes were left without electricity.
In Meath, a motorist received facial injuries when part of a large sign was broken up by the winds, causing a piece of hoarding to smash through the windscreen of his car. The accident happened on the N2 near Ashbourne.
The Cavan fire service removed trees from eight different roads in the county.
Dozens of trees, including a 50ft Christmas tree, were blown down.
Thousands of homes were left without electricity as storm-force gales reached 120kmh in counties Sligo and Donegal.
In Sligo there was flooding in a number of areas.
The west emerged unscathed. Galway, Mayo and Clare saw strong winds throughout Wednesday night, but they quickly dissipated throughout yesterday with no damage reported.
The south escaped the worst of the weather and by evening conditions had calmed.
At Roches Point off the Co Cork coast winds were gusting up to 35 knots yesterday although sea conditions had calmed considerably by late afternoon.
A blustery start was replaced by calmer conditions in the afternoon as the winds died throughout the day.
Among the strongest gusts recorded during the morning was a 64kmh wind at the weather station run by Alan O'Brien in Tullow, Co Carlow.