Wednesday 16 October 2019

Severe winds and torrential rain sweep across Ireland as Storm Deirdre strikes

Shoppers had to cope with wind and rain. Picture: Fergal Phillips
Shoppers had to cope with wind and rain. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Alan O'Keeffe

Storm Deirdre swept through the country yesterday with strong winds and prolonged heavy downpours.

A child in Cork was rushed to hospital after being injured by a falling tree at the height of the storm. The little girl, understood to be nine years old, was cycling not far from the Marina in the Blackrock area of Cork when she was struck by the detached limb of a tree at around 5pm.

She was rushed to Cork University Hospital. Her injuries are not understood to be life-threatening.

Floods in several areas in the South East were reported, while trees fell on powerlines in the worst-hit areas causing homes to lose electricity for several hours before work crews restored power.

The worst-hit areas for flooding included south Kilkenny and Co Waterford. Council workers were on high alert last night throughout the region as river levels rose.

Met Eireann forecaster Deirdre Lowe said very strong winds hit the South West, South East, and areas of Donegal.

A gust of 110kph was detected on Sherkin Island in Co Cork during the afternoon, she said.

Orange wind alerts were in force in Cork, Wexford, Waterford and Donegal between 3pm and 10pm.

More than 50mm of rain fell overnight in Carrick-on-Suir in Co Tipperary, she said. The bad weather reduced the numbers of shoppers venturing out on pre-Christmas buying trips with a 20pc drop in expected shoppers in Dublin city centre yesterday.

"Undoubtedly, this weekend's weather will impact shopping numbers on what is one of the busiest shopping weekends of the calendar year," said Neil McDonnell, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association.

He appealed to consumers to avoid unnecessary long journeys and to shop local.

ESB Networks said all available staff were on standby ahead of a Status Orange weather warning which came into effect yesterday afternoon as Storm Deirdre made its way northeast across the country.

Warnings of "disruptive and damaging" gusts of up to 130km/h had been forecast in western and southern counties in the late afternoon, transferring eastwards later in the evening. Met Eireann issued a Status Yellow rainfall warning for the country, with up to 5cm of rain forecast.

More than 4,000 homes and businesses were left without power yesterday morning in the Glengariff area of Cork. ESB technicians restored power to all of those properties by lunchtime. Teams remained on standby for any weather-related outages.

Some 800 properties lost power in Cahir in Co Tipperary and crews worked to have power restored later last night. A spokesman for ESB Networks said the damage being reported was not out of the ordinary for winter weather and crews had sufficient resources to restore power.

AA Roadwatch warned motorists to take extra care on the roads as flooding was reported in Waterford, Kilkenny and Cork.

At Dublin Airport 18 flights were cancelled. Irish Ferries cancelled sailings between Dublin and Holyhead but today's sailings were scheduled to go ahead.

Storm Deirdre caused the calling off of three GAA Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup games yesterday as high winds and rain battered the country.Wicklow's clash with Louth at Bray Emmetts, Wexford's game against Laois at St Patrick's Park in Enniscorthy and the Westmeath-Offaly meeting in Moate were all called off.

Today forecasts widespread rain or hail showers during the morning, with some prolonged in places. Showers will be mostly in western and south-western counties in the afternoon, with some better sunny spells in midland and eastern areas. Top temperatures of 6°C-8°C were forecast for today in moderate or fresh southwest winds. Frost was forecast in midland and eastern areas tonight. Winds will be getting stronger and bring some rain and drizzle to western and north-western areas before dawn.

Met Eireann said very unsettled and disturbed weather is expected this week, with well above normal rainfall and strong winds at times.

Tomorrow will be mild with very strong winds in western and northern areas but it will be drier in the east and not as windy. Heavy rain is expected in all areas overnight with strong winds easing by Tuesday morning.

The rest of the week is expected to be very unsettled with rain or heavy showers at times.

Sunday Independent

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