Friday 19 January 2018

Gale-force winds lash the country

Fergus Black

THOUSANDS of homes were left without power and there was some disruption to ferry travel as gale-force winds battered the country.

Met Eireann issued two weather warnings, with one alert warning of gusts of up to 130kmh for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork and Kerry.

The ESB said 5,000 homes, mainly in the Ballina and Castlebar areas of Co Mayo, were left without power but a spokeswoman said that the network was in good shape and holding up well in the storm.

"Crews are working hard to restore power but will have to wait in some areas until the wind dies down in some areas," a spokeswoman said.

Irish Ferries said it had managed to keep most of its services operating despite the weather, apart from the Rosslare/Pembroke route.

Because of conditions the company had cancelled the overnight round trip between the two ports but service was expected to resume today.

On its Dublin/Holyhead route, the Swift fast ferry service was affected but passengers were accommodated on conventional ferries.

In Co Galway, a high tide around teatime led to flooding in Salthill and other coastal parts of the county as the winds reached their peak.

Galway City Council mounted sandbags around the Spanish Arch area of the city centre in an effort to prevent flooding.

Temporary fencing in Claddagh, where repair work has been ongoing to the pier and road, had to be strengthened as the storm struck.

Gardai at Mill Street station in the city said that there was reduced traffic on the roads as motorists heeded warnings not to travel unless it was essential.

The southwest also bore the brunt of the storms.

In Fenit, Co Kerry, people had to abandon their walk on the pier when strong winds and high tides combined to send waves flying over their heads.

The Coast Guard issued a warning to members of the public to avoid exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, beaches, promenades or coastal areas.

"Huge waves can be whipped up by high seas, which can pose hazards to anyone close to the shoreline. Severe weather such as this brings not only high winds, but the risk of heavy downpours and the potential for spot flooding," Irish Coast Guard manager Declan Geoghegan said.

The Coast Guard is also advising the public not to attempt to rescue people in difficulty in the sea or on cliffs or shorelines but to ring emergency services on 999, or 112 for the Coast Guard.


There were also reports of fallen trees in parts of north Kerry and Co Dublin.

Gales of up to 140kmh lashed the north-west last night but there were no reports of any major incidents.

A spokesman for Donegal County Council said there had been no reports of any structural damage.

The council recently launched a winter weather website to alert the public of severe weather patterns, including gales, snow and ice.

Sailings of the Tory Island ferry were cancelled yesterday as a precaution because of strong winds and high seas.

The very unsettled weather will continue for the rest of December and over the New Year with wet and windy conditions.

However, Met Eireann said there are some indications for drier, milder conditions after the turn of the year.

Tonight will see very cold, windy and showery weather sweeping across parts of the north and northwest with some sleet or wet snow possible.

Tomorrow will be bright and blustery, and persistent rain will spread from the southwest during the afternoon and evening.

Irish Independent

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