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Storm Imogen: 9,000 homes without power as 130km/h gusts batter power network


The wave swell off the Irish coast. Graphic courtesy of MagicSeaweed.com

The wave swell off the Irish coast. Graphic courtesy of MagicSeaweed.com

The wave swell off the Irish coast. Graphic courtesy of MagicSeaweed.com

More than 9,000 homes are without electricity as power crews attempt to restore power to thousands of homes in the south-west after Storm Imogen’s high winds caused widespread blackouts.

Some of the worst affected areas are in Kerry and Cork, where more than 1,400 homes and businesses in the Macroom area remain without electricity.

Another 1,000 are affected in the Rathmore area.

ESB Networks are reporting widespread power outages, and said that that some 12,000 homes and businesses were affected this morning by Storm Imogen’s fierce winds.

“We’ve already restored power to over 3,000 homes and we’ve got crews at more than two dozen locations working to repair the faults,” said a spokesperson for the company.

“We’re facing rolling repairs so, at the moment, we’ve very much got a moving target. Still, we believe we should have everyone back by the evening.”

At its overnight peak along the south coast, Imogen - the ninth winter Atlantic storm - was bringing hurricane force winds to Sherkin Island off Cork, the Fastnet Rock and the Kinsale gas rigs.

Waves at least 30 feet high were also recorded by Met Éireann's weather buoys in the Atlantic.

Fastnet lighthouse recorded some of the highest winds including sustained hurricane force speeds and gusts of up to 196km/h.

Met Éireann are warning that westerly winds will reach mean speeds of 65 to 75 km/h, with gusts of 100 to 130 km/h, and have a status orange wind warning in place for Cork and Kerry.

A separate status yellow warning has been issued for Wexford, Clare, Limerick and Waterford, where winds will reach mean speeds of 65 km/h.

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The forecaster reports that tonight will be cold, with temperatures down to between 1 and 3 degrees.

Tomorrow will be cold and blustery with wintry showers.

In the aftermath of Storm Imogen road users were being warned of fallen trees and power lines while people in coastal areas were being warned of the dangers of extreme wave heights in some parts of the south coast.

AA Roadwatch are reporting roads are very wet across the country this morning and have advised drivers to slow down and increase their breaking distance, while Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have urged motorists to travel with extreme care during the hours when Storm Imogen will be at its height.

The early indications are though that Storm Imogen will not be as damaging as its predecessors, including Storms Barney, Desmond, Gertrude and Henry.

The worst of the storm is due to hit the UK, where ferry sailings have already been cancelled and drivers of high-sided vehicles have been urged not to use exposed motorways and bridges across southern England and Wales.