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Thursday 13 December 2018

Storm Diana: ESB working to restore power to customers as weather warnings lifted

  • 'Severe weather teams' activated as conditions set to last five days

  • Number of flights cancelled from Cork and Dublin airports

  • Outages across the country left over 40,000 homes and businesses without power

  • Motorists warned of fallen debris

Wild: Walkers on the harbour in Howth, Co Dublin. Photos: Colin Keegan/Collins
Wild: Walkers on the harbour in Howth, Co Dublin. Photos: Colin Keegan/Collins
Wild: A pedestrian struggles with an umbrella in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Wild: The Coast Guard comes to the assistance of a walker on Dublin’s Great South Wall. Photo: PA

Nicola Anderson, Rachel Farrell and Ralph Riegel

ESB Network crews are working to restore power to homes, farms and businesses as Storm Diana lashed across Ireland.

A Status Orange wind warning was issued for counties Cork and Kerry from 6am this morning until 1pm with winds of 65-80kmh and gusts up to 130kmh forecast.

A Status Orange wind warning was also issued for counties Wexford, Galway, Clare and Waterford from 9am and it was extended until 3pm today, while a Status Yellow warning is in place for the rest of the country and was extended also until 6pm.

A Met Éireann spokesperson said the coasts were best avoided for safety.

An ESB spokesman confirmed that more than 40,000 customers were without power at 11am due to Storm Diana, and that they expect to restore power to the "vast majority" by tonight.

Speaking on The Sean O'Rourke Show on RTE Radio One, Derek Hynes of the ESB urged the public to be wary of safety risks posed by storm damage.

He said: "We are urging people to be careful and aware of fallen trees, lines or the wind itself. By mid-afternoon we'll have a good estimate as to when all of those will have power back, we will have information on our powercheck app, and through all of other social media channels, trying to update everybody.

"We expect the weather over coming days to remain blustery which may make our repair and restoration effort a little more difficult that normal.

"But really we are hoping that by mid afternoon we will have all of our crews who have been on standby all morning, out and deployed when it is safe to do so."

A period of disturbed weather is now predicted to continue for five days.

Officials say Storm Diana's impact will be felt over the next 48 hours as it track upwards from the Azores.

Cork Airport cancelled a total of 14 flights due to the gusting winds.

In some coastal parts of west Cork, winds gusted to almost 130km/h.

UK flights bore the worst of the disruption with flights cancelled including services to Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Passengers are urged to check with their airlines before travelling to the airport.

The combination of heavy rainfall, wind direction and high tides resulted in spot flooding in parts of Cork city and county.

Debris from the high winds also caused problems on many roads.

Motorists on the Dublin-Cork  motorway were urged to drive with care with debris blown onto the M8 between Fermoy and Mitchelstown and between Glanmire and Watergrasshill.

Gardaí urged drivers to slow down, allow sufficient braking distance to vehicles in front and, if possible, to delay journeys until later in the morning when conditions are expected to ease.

The capital was hammered by gales yesterday, but this time the south-west is bracing itself for the worst conditions.

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management has contacted all local authorities, requesting that they activate their crisis management arrangements where necessary.

Warnings have been issued to the public to avoid the coastline amid fears of severe winds and high seas, as Storm Diana lashes our shores.

Though not on the scale of Storm Emma, poor conditions will hamper activities around the country.

Met Éireann has issued a total of five weather alerts for land and sea as the tail end of the storm passes over.

Dublin Port was forced to close to shipping yesterday due to widespread rain and gales but reopened around midday, causing delays for a large number of trucks waiting to get into the port.

Emergency services came to the assistance of a walker during yesterday's high winds and swells on Dublin's Great South Wall.

The alarm was raised in the afternoon after a person appeared to be in danger, with rising water beginning to break the wall of the iconic port. It is understood she came out earlier to watch swimmers at Half-Moon Swimming Club.

"The tide was coming in and the water was starting to break the wall, which could have left her stranded. We sent out a jeep to the scene just to make sure she was ok," the Coast Guard said.

A Status Orange gale warning is in place today for all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea, with winds expected to gust up to force 10 for a time from Mizen Head to Valentia to Loop Head, along with a Status Yellow small craft warning.

AA Roadwatch and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged motorists to take extra precautions.

Conor Faughnan, of the AA, said commuters should expect delays as a result of the conditions, and that cyclists and pedestrians should also take extra care.

Clare County Council advised that high seas along the coastline, including the Shannon Estuary, would bring a risk of coastal flooding.

Meanwhile, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is closed to visitors today from 9am to 2pm.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has closed all its public parks because of the high winds forecast.

A spokesperson said the parks will be closed until further notice. Meanwhile, Ballyogan recycling centre will also be closed to the public until further notice.

A Met Éireann forecaster also revealed that by its official list, the storm had been due to be called Deirdre - but was named Diana by the Portuguese met office as it first hit the Azores.

Irish Independent

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