Friday 21 September 2018

New weather warning issued as homes could be left without power until Saturday

  • 125,000 customers are without electricity as ESB do 'Trojan work' to restore power
  • 48,000 are now without water and tanker deliveries will be dispatched this morning
  • 110,000 waiting on restoration of broadband, telephone and mobile services
  • Army have been called in to help
A man walks in the Claddagh area of Galway. While the west did experience rainfall, it did not receive any more than would be typical on a very rainy day. Photo: Andrew Downes
A man walks in the Claddagh area of Galway. While the west did experience rainfall, it did not receive any more than would be typical on a very rainy day. Photo: Andrew Downes
ESB workers restoring power to a farm in Glamire, Cork after Hurricane Ophelia Pic:Mark Condren 17.10.2017
Cork was among the counties worst affected by Storm Ophelia (Picture: Mark Condren)
Northbrook Road, Ranelagh Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Tree Surgeons take dawn a fallen Tree on Northbrook Road Ranelagh .
Northbrook Road, Ranelagh Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Northbrook Road, Ranelagh Photo: Kyran O'Brien
A fallen tree blocks the R292 at Culleenamore, Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Photo: James Connolly
Locals cut up and clear a fallen tree which had been blocking the road for most of the day on the Leixlip Road, near the Salmon Leap Inn this evening after Hurricane Ophelia Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Tributes have been paid to three victims who lost their lives in Storm Ophelia related incidents: Fintan Goss, Michael Pyke and Clare O’Neill
Michael Pyke, who was killed during storm Ophelia and Clare O'Neill who was killed in a car accident during storm Ophelia
Fintan Goss has been named locally as the man who died when a tree hit his car earlier in the Ravensdale area of Dundalk.
Clare O'Neill who was killed in a car accident during storm Ophelia
Locals cut up and clear a fallen tree which had been blocking the road for most of the day on the Leixlip Road, near the Salmon Leap Inn this evening after Hurricane Opelia
Spray splashes over a car at the Point in Westport, Co. Mayo as Storm Ophelia batters the country. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
Gardai, and Dundalk fire brigade attend the scene of an accident at Ravensdale outside Dundalk where a fallen tree struck a car during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
A fallen tree struck at Thistle cross outside Dundalk during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
Hurricane Ophelia hitting Fenit in County Kerry. Photo: Mark Condren
16/9/17 Gardai, the coastguard and the RNLI helicopter at Blackrock in Co Louth where windsurfers were surfing during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
A fallen tree on Northbrook Road, Ranelagh, which was blown over during Storm Ophelia.
A fallen tree on Northbrook Road, Ranelagh, which was blown over during Storm Ophelia.
16-10-17 Storm scenes at Tramore Co. Waterford. Picture Dylan Vaughan
Provision 161017 Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen tree Knocknaheeny, Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Ophelia Storm strikes in Baltimore, West Cork. Photo. Emma Jervis Photography
Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen trees, N25 Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

'Storm Brian' could hamper efforts to restore power to 119,000 customers and water to 48,000, ESB revealed this morning.

As the clean up continues after historic Storm Ophelia battered the country on Monday, efforts are underway to restore services nationwide.

This morning, schools have re-opened and transport services have resumed.

Bernardine Maloney from ESB, told RTE that 119,000 customers remain without power.

"We're hoping to have 90 per cent of customers restored by Saturday. It's field by field, pole by pole, house by house. It is going to take a little bit longer but we will be working flat out until we have everyone solved."

Ms Maloney added that Storm Brian may have some impact on the work.

"We're getting updates from Met Eireann. I don't know what the wind speeds are going to be. It's possible that it could hamper our men and women out in the field that are doing the work. We need to be conscious that if it's unsafe levels of wind they won't be able to work in those conditions."

People without power can check when their power will be restored either on powercheck.ie or they can call 1850372999.

The vast majority will have power reconnected within the next three days.

Defence Forces have two chainsaw teams deployed in the south of the country, as well as five vehicles in Galway to assist gardaí.

The army are also bringing a tanker capable of holding 10,000 litres of water to Kilkenny.

Met Eireann told Independent.ie yesterday that a low depression is set to reach Ireland over the weekend.

The spell of bad weather, which would be called “Storm Brian” if it develops into a storm, is expected to hit Ireland or pass close by on late Friday and Saturday and a smaller bad spell of weather will cross Ireland on Thursday.

A status yellow weather warning has been issued for Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath.

The warning is in place from Wednesday October 18 10:00 until Thursday October 19 at 23:59.

Met Eireann forecasts heavy rain with accumulations of between 30 and 50mm in some areas.

Read More: 'We'd been told they were safer outside' - Dairy farmer's cows electrocuted during Storm Ophelia

Irish Water's Margaret Ashwood said that the organisation is working closely with ESB to try to help people get their water supply back.

She said: "Yesterday evening there would have 48,000 people still without water, this would have been reduced from peak at midday of 109,000.

"The number of customers at risk of running out of water would have been at a peak of 260,000 and this would have been reduced to about 56,000 yesterday evening.

"What we mean by at risk is that there is water in the reservoirs but as the reservoirs are emptying as power supply may not have been returned to these areas, so they are our next priority.

"We are working with ESB, we have prioritised our treatment plans based on the number of customers who have been impacted and also by water supply."

Read More: 'I wanted to see with my own eyes the scale of the damage' - Taoiseach visits storm stricken area with ESB crews

She said that the worst affected areas were Kerry, Cork county, Waterford, Wexford and then more inland Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary.

She said that the priority now is installing power to the larger water schemes.

Ms Ashwood said that small schemes willl be connected to larger ones where possible and that tanker deliveries of water will be dispatched this morning.

Read More: 'He's the most gentle giant you'd ever meet' - Family of Ophelia victim Michael Pyke pay emotional tribute

Eir spokesman Paul Bradley said that thousands are also without broadband, telephone and mobile services.

Mr Bradley said: "eir estimates that the number of customers without broadband, telephone and mobile service as a result of Storm Ophelia has reduced to 85,000."

"We expect the number of customers without service will continue to reduce today as power supply issues are resolved. However, the number of individual line fault reports will rise today and over the coming days. Given the overhead nature of our network in rural areas, the damage is extensive and repair work will take time.

"Approximately 1,200 staff will continue to work today to assess and repair network damage.

"Field technicians have, as a priority, attempted to make safe any dangerous poles or cables that have posed a public safety risk. There have been close to 400 reports of dangerous plant since Monday."

Victims

The three victims were killed in separate counties following tragic incidents directly linked to the strongest storm to strike Ireland in more than 50 years.

The public's adherence to warnings to remain indoors is credited with preventing further loss of life during the storm.

Trees that were hundreds of years old slammed onto roadways while everyday objects became projectile missiles in the Hurricane force gusts.

The first fatality occurred at approximately 11.40am outside Aglish village, Co Waterford.

Clare O’Neill (58) died after the car she was driving was struck by a tree. She was due to celebrate her 59th birthday on Tuesday October 17.

O1Neill.jpg
Clare O'Neill who was killed in a car accident during storm Ophelia

Ms O’Neill’s mother, who is in her 70s, was a passenger in the car and was injured during the incident and was transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital.

Her injuries have been described as non-life threatening.

Clare O’Neill worked as an oncology nurse for over three decades and recently worked as Cancer Support Co-Ordinator with the Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

“She was a very jolly woman, very helpful,” local shopkeeper Richard Hurley said.

“It’s a big shock, it’s a miserable morning, a young woman like that (dying) in such a tragic accident.”

The second tragic death caused by Ophelia occurred at around 12.30pm in Cahir, Co Tipperary.

Pyke.jpg
Michael Pyke, who was killed during storm Ophelia

Local man Michael Pyke (31) was attempting to clear a fallen tree with a chainsaw when the tragedy occurred. Gardai believe that Mr Pyke was attempting to move the tree on the Cahir to Ardfinnan road, when another tree collapsed and struck him, resulting in him falling into the chainsaw.

Emergency services were called but Mr Pyke was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was later removed to Clonmel Hospital.

Meanwhile, at approximately 2.45pm a serious road traffic collision occurred in the Ravensdale area of Dundalk, Co Louth. Fintan Goss, who was aged in his 30s, was the driver of a vehicle when it was struck by a tree. It is believed the married father-of-two had been travelling home early from work due to the storm when tragedy struck.

Mr Goss lived in Ravensdale with his wife and children.

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Fintan Goss has been named locally as the man who died when a tree hit his car earlier in the Ravensdale area of Dundalk.

They were supporters of Fine Gael and last night the chairperson of Dundalk Municipal District, Cllr John McGahon (FG) said: “This is an absolute tragedy. Fintan and the Goss family are extremely well regarded in the community.

“He will be greatly missed by his friends, family and the local community in Ravensdale. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended his sympathies to the families of those killed.

President Michael D Higgins also extended his sympathies to the families who lost loved ones during hurricane Ophelia.

Speaking as he continued his State Visit of Australia President Higgins said; "My heart goes out those who have lost loved ones and what they must be suffering". 

The President also acknowledged that the extent of the destruction the storm caused will continue to emerge today.  

"Some people will have been badly affected by flooding, others will have to reconstruct houses," he said. "I hope that once again that people will come to gather in a spirit of cooperation."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the "full resources of the state" will be deployed for the clean-up action.

"The full resources of the state will be deployed for the clean up operation. Crews from UK and Northern Ireland will be in to help," he told RTE.

This follows a call from British Prime Minister Teresa May yesterday when she offered the Taoiseach assistance in the recovery effort.

Mr Varadkar also urged continued continued caution today.

"We have had three tragic deaths but the most important thing is that no-one else else losses their life. There are still dangers even if the storm is gone.

Schools

Schools will reopen this morning, and school buses will be running, unless they have safety concerns, the Department of Education has confirmed.

The final decision on whether a school reopens will come down to whether there are any safety issues arising from Storm Ophelia.

In a statement yesterday, the Department said “schools must ensure the safety of those in their care and give due consideration to this when making a decision to re-open.”

The Department also advised that if a non-State owned school needs repairs it should, in the first instance, contact its insurance providers, before seeking any emergency funding from the State.

For any State-owned buildings, school authorities are free to apply for funding under the Department of Education’s Emergency Works Scheme.

Education Minister Richard Bruton thanked principals, teachers, students and parents for their co-operation with safety measures over the past two days.

Health

Around 10,000 people whose hospital outpatient appointments were cancelled due to Hurricane Ophelia on Monday may have to wait weeks to get a re-scheduled date.

The cancellations, which were called for safety reasons to prevent public patients having to make journeys in hazardous conditions, could result in extra clinics being laid on in some cases to help clear the backlog, Damien McCallion, the HSE's national director of emergency management, said yesterday.

He said other patients who had appointments with mental health and other services will have to be re-scheduled.

Health services continued to face disruption yesterday, although all outpatient clinics went ahead.

Some waiting list patients awaiting planned surgery had their operations put back because of a lack of beds.

Hospitals were under pressure to free up beds that were occupied by patients who could not be discharged due to the storm.

Mr McCallion said some hospitals opened closed beds and this helped to relieve overcrowding in hospital A&E departments.

The emergency departments were busy in the afternoon as patients, who held off seeking medical care on Monday, attended services yesterday.

Ambulance services in some areas of the country faced difficulties due to fallen trees and road blockages caused by the storm. This led to delays in some cases.

Mr McCallion said homecare services were also disrupted and some patients who needed medical equipment that was powered by electricity had to be moved to community hospitals after electricity supplies were affected.

In the run up to the storm, home care and other staff had tried to visit as many people as possible who rely on home visits in counties which were on "red" alert.

Five hospitals were in areas that suffered electricity blackouts and had to revert to their generators.

How did Ophelia affect you? Send your comments and pictures to contact@independent.ie. Remember to stay safe

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