Saturday 18 November 2017

Massive clean-up after storms leave 25,000 without electricity

Luke Byrne and Anita Guidera

ESB crews were last night working to restore electricity to thousands of homes after 25,000 people were left without power by fierce storms that lashed the country.

Power lines across the country were brought down by falling trees in winds of up to 144kmh.

Response crews are expected to reconnect the last affected customers this morning after the high winds and rain abated last night.

The worst affected areas were in the north west where an estimated 14,000 people lost power in Co Donegal and Co Mayo.

Areas of Co Tipperary, Co Roscommon, and Co Longford, were also badly hit.

Nationwide 25,000 people lost power for some period during the day.

"Due to high winds a lot of our lines are being brought down by timber from trees and branches," a spokesman for the ESB said yesterday.

He said that crews were working throughout the day to restore power. They managed to reconnect almost all those affected -- yet 200 homes in Letterkenny and 38 homes in Killybegs, both in Co Donegal, were without power overnight.

"Our crews will go out at first light in the morning and restore power as soon as possible."

"We hope to have everybody back by nightfall and if there are some customers who aren't back by Tuesday our crews will go out at first light in the morning and restore power as soon as possible," he added.

The wind was at its highest at around 1pm. It battered sections of the coast for much of yesterday morning.

Fallen trees were reported across Co Donegal, causing a number of incidents on the county's roads. A 40ft container lorry was blown on to its side on the road between Dungloe and Doochary but the driver escaped without injury.

In Co Mayo, drifting flowers from whitethorn bushes gave an appearance of blizzard conditions. Gardai in Ballina cautioned the visibility of drivers could be affected.

Mayo County Council reported a number of trees down on roads in the Castlebar, Partry, and Turlough areas but there were no reports of injuries.

A tree on The Mall, Castlebar, was spliced in two by the high winds but there was no pedestrian on the path underneath when the heavy branches came crashing down.

Galway Mountain Rescue Team went to the aid of a group of climbers trapped by high winds near the summit of Diamond Hill, Letterfrack, and led them to safety.

While the stormy weather is due to fade by today, the outlook is still rather bleak for the rest of the week.

A spokesman for Met Eireann said the winds would die down greatly today with a few scattered showers across the country.

However, he said that there wouldl be some extended periods of sunshine.

Wednesday will be wet and windy but with some hot periods and Thursday will be cool with higher winds and some gales at sea.

The ESB is warning people not to go near fallen power lines or poles and to report any outages to freephone 1850 372999.

Irish Independent

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