Tuesday 16 October 2018

Storm Callum hits hard: Flight cancellations, thousands without power and schools urged to 'err on the side of caution'

  • Number of flights cancelled at Dublin Airport

  • Number of roads closed, reports of fallen trees in Tipperary, Kildare and Meath

  • Fears similar conditions are on way for the weekend

  • Storm Callum hits hard with winds of up to 130kmh

Pat Duane, from Glasnevin, walks in driving rain past sandbags in Clontarf, Dublin, before the worst took hold. Storm Callum was expected to bring gales of up to 130kmh, with coastal areas bearing the brunt of the weather, which attracted a status yellow warning. Photo: Damien Eagers
Pat Duane, from Glasnevin, walks in driving rain past sandbags in Clontarf, Dublin, before the worst took hold. Storm Callum was expected to bring gales of up to 130kmh, with coastal areas bearing the brunt of the weather, which attracted a status yellow warning. Photo: Damien Eagers
Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes
Stormy: Locals struggle with brollies in Westport, Co Mayo, as the wet, windy weather moves in. Photo: Paul Mealey
Nancy Long stands at the door of her house in the Claddagh Quay in Galway with sandbags and a plastic flood gate for protection against possible flooding from Storm Callum. Photo: Andy Newman

Katherine Donnelly, Kathy Armstrong, and Ian Begley

Over two dozen flights to and from Dublin Airport were cancelled as destructive winds of up to 130kmh swept across the country last night, with fears that similar conditions are on the way for the weekend.

Met Éireann issued Status Orange weather warnings for 13 counties, with high winds coinciding with high tides yesterday evening.

The warning forecast from 10pm covered Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Kerry, Dublin, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath, Cork and Waterford. Winds were estimated to reach speeds of between 110kmh and 130kmh.

The warnings are due to finish between 9am and 1pm today.

In Cork, the Cobh/Fota Road was closed following a minor mudslide in the area. The council have since cleared the area.

Those planning to travel ahead of the weekend should note there may be significant disruption following the storm.

Aer Lingus said in a statement: "A number of flights on our European network have been cancelled on Friday 12 October due to #StormCallum."

People scheduled to fly from Kerry Airport to Dublin at 7.30am this morning on Aer Lingus Regional Flight EI3201 were also advised it had been cancelled due to the storm.

Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes
Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes

Ryanair said that they didn't expect their routes to be affected but said that passengers would be notified if that changed.

A spokeswoman for Dublin Airport urged customers to check to see if their flight had been affected before they set off.

Schools affected by the extended Status Orange alert were told to use their judgment this morning on whether to open their doors.

The Department of Education advised all education centres to remain vigilant and to "err on the side of caution".

A spokesperson told the Irish Independent that a red alert at this stage is unlikely, but further warnings could be put in place over the weekend. 

Commuters faced a number of disruptions this morning;

  • AA Roadwatch confirm Cobh/Fota Rd (R624) is closed following a mudslide
  • Trees are reported down Tipperary, Wicklow, Kildare
  • Reports of flooding on the Stillorgan Road by UCD
  • Irish Rail report no DARTs operating between Howth and Howth Junction at present due to debris
  • Dublin Bus are honouring all Irish Rail tickets in case of transport switch
  • Storm Callum swept across the country overnight, with western counties experiencing gusts of up to 130lm/h.

ESB's Senior Press Officer Paul Hand said thousands of homes and businesses are without power due to damage to power lines.

Nancy Long stands at the door of her house in the Claddagh Quay in Galway with sandbags and a plastic flood gate for protection against possible flooding from Storm Callum. Photo: Andy Newman
Nancy Long stands at the door of her house in the Claddagh Quay in Galway with sandbags and a plastic flood gate for protection against possible flooding from Storm Callum. Photo: Andy Newman

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, he said they do anticipate the number of power outages to increase as the storm moves northwards.

"The outages are mainly in the south and west, west Cork, north Cork and Kerry," he said.

"There are also localised pockets across the country too, we do anticipate that to increase.

Stormy: Locals struggle with brollies in Westport, Co Mayo, as the wet, windy weather moves in. Photo: Paul Mealey
Stormy: Locals struggle with brollies in Westport, Co Mayo, as the wet, windy weather moves in. Photo: Paul Mealey

"Crews are standing ready in all areas of the country.

"Crews will begin deploying shortly in areas where the storm is beginning to abate," he continued. 

"It is still bad on the west coast, it may be well into the mid-morning period before crews can be deployed in the west and northwest."

Also speaking this morning, Met Éireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly said the west of the country "is still not out of the woods".

Motorists are being warned to take care on roads as there have been numerous reports of debris and fallen trees.

Criticism

The national forecaster faced widespread criticism last month over its decision not to implement a red warning threat during Storm Ali, which left two dead and thousands without power.

The National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) met yesterday for a briefing on the oncoming Storm Callum, which posed a "risk to life and property", according to forecasters.

Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann briefed the group on expected weather and warnings in place until this afternoon.

The group, made up of State agencies including the Office of Public Works, Met Éireann, the Department of Defence, the Garda, the Defence Forces and the Coast Guard met to co-ordinate the State's response.

Crisis management teams and severe weather alert teams from a number of local authorities across the country were deployed yesterday afternoon.

Galway City Council put in an 80-metre portable dam at Spanish Arch and flood gates at various points around Salthill, while 5,000 sandbags were made available to the public.

Likewise in Dublin, council crews distributed sandbags last night to areas along the coast where flooding might occur, including Howth and Malahide.

Irish Independent

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