Storm Gertrude: Bunny rescued from roof as snow and ice warning issued
Met Eireann has warned that sleet and snow are on the way in the aftermath of Storm Gertrude.
A Status Yellow snow and ice warning has been issued and is to remain in place until tomorrow midday.
Met Eireann said that icy patches are expected to develop overnight in many parts of the country in spite of the wind. Sleet and snow showers are forecast to develop in the North and Northwest throughout the night, giving several cms of snow on high ground.
Tomorrow morning the snow is expected to spread to the south and eastern parts of the country.
Met Éireann has also maintained the status yellow wind warning until tomorrow afternoon for counties Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo. Winds will veer between 65kph to 100kph.
Meanwhile, firefighters have had to rescue a bunny rabbit after Storm Gertrude catapulted him onto the roof of a bungalow.
Pictures showed Bumper the rabbit on the roof of its owner's house, the hutch on its side and the firefighter cuddling the presumably terrified bunny in his arms.
"Bumper is now safe in the care of his owner and none the worse for his ordeal. One short extension ladder, one reach pole, and one particularly tasty carrot were used by personnel at the incident," a crew member added.
The incident happened in Deverney Road, Omagh at 9.15am.
The storm has also uprooted trees at the Dark Hedges, the tunnel of trees made world-famous by Game of Thrones.
Roads, train services and electricity supplies have all been disrupted by Gertrude.
Overnight, Storm Gertrude lashed the country with winds of up to 110kph.
The storm brings rain and strong gusts with the potential to reach 130kph along some exposed western and northern areas.
The status orange alert was issued for householders and motorists over damaging gusts across a total of 16 counties.
A 70 knot gust was recorded at Malin Head this morning. That, according to Siobhan Ryan of Met Eirrean, is "at the higher end of the Orange spectrum. It's actually a hurricane gust at almost 130km."
The winds are to be at their strongest for the next few hours but the warnings are to ease later on this morning. However, it will remain windy for the day. Donegal, Sligo and Galway took the brunt of the storm force winds overnight.
Met Eireann Head of Forcasting Gerald Fleming said the winds will remain very high this morning as people make their way into work.
"We will have strong winds for the next couple of hours. People going to work, children going to school, people on bikes all need to be extra careful this morning. Motorists should be extra cautious of cyclists - keep well clear of them as a gust may come.
"In Dublin the wind can be very strong as it funnels down the Liffey. After 9am things will slowly begin to ease out and it will gradually get less windy.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged motorists to drive with extreme care given the potential force of the winds.
AA roadwatch are this morning reporting dozens of trees down across the country affecting the morning commute.
Some flights at Dublin Airport have been delayed this morning. People travelling are advised to contact their airline for more information. Irish ferries has cancelled its Swiftcraft sailings to Holyhead this morning.
Meanwhile ESB have confirmed upwards of 10,000 homes were without power following the storm this morning. However, at lunchtime that number had been cut to 3,000. Areas worst affected include Roscommon, Achill in Mayo, Bailieborough, Cavan and Kilcoole in Wicklow.
Speaking on Morning Ireland ESB spokesperson Bernardine Maloney of ESB said she expected power to be restored to most of the original; 10,000 affected to be restored today by lunctime .
She said crews were not out repairing faults during the night as “a lot of these faults were only reported this morning”.
Pedestrians were also urged to avoid exposed coastal areas. Trees are being reported down all over the Northwest.
Gusts were expected to reach 110kph but, in some areas, have the potential to even reach 130kph.
"Winds of speeds up to 65 to 80kph overnight are predicted and will gust 110 to 130kph at times in Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Longford, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Kerry and Waterford," an RSA spokesman said.
A lesser status yellow wind alert was issued for Tipperary, Limerick, Westmeath, Roscommon, Offaly, Laois, Carlow, Kildare and Kilkenny.
Motorists were urged to take extreme care, particularly when driving along exposed higher ground or near coastal areas.
Truck drivers using high-sided vehicles were also urged to exercise extreme caution.
The winds are expected to ease around lunchtime today.
Clare County Council closed the Cliffs of Moher amid concerns the strong gusts posed a public safety risk.
Staff there asked the public not to visit the attraction until the winds abate.
"Due to unexpected high winds, we have now moved to an orange weather warning status - which means we recommend you do not visit the Cliffs of Moher this afternoon," a spokesman said.
Last November, at the height of Storm Clodagh, all visitors and staff were evacuated as winds reached almost 180kph.
However, the torrential rainfall over the past week has also hit residents in the River Shannon area, with water levels again rising.
The ESB confirmed that water levels in Lough Derg have increased from Wednesday to yesterday, with an increased discharge from Parteen Weir required.
"The flow of water through Parteen Weir will increase to 230 cubic metres per second and the situation will be reviewed again on Friday," a spokesperson said.
There is also a renewed downstream flooding threat.