'Violent but short-lived' - Storm Hannah's 120kmh gusts leave power cuts and damage in their wake
- Some 11,000 properties left without power
- ESB warn that many homes won't be reconnected until later today
- Worst of storm has passed for Ireland
THOUSANDS of homes are without power this morning after Storm Hannah hammered Ireland's south-west coast last night.
Winds gusted to a potentially lethal 120kmh off the Clare coast and around the Aran Islands, resulting in high seas and downed trees on land.
Flights were cancelled at Kerry, Cork and Shannon airports.
At peak, more than 33,000 businesses and houses were left without power.
By 11.30am on Saturday, that number had dropped to 11,000
"ESB Networks crews have been continuing efforts to repair the electricity network since first light this morning, restoring power to 22,000 homes, farms and businesses that lost supply due to the impact of Storm Hannah
"At the height of the storm this morning, 33,000 customers were impacted, and efforts continue throughout the day to restore power to the remaining 11,000 customers.
"All available resources from ESB Networks are deployed to carry out repairs to the network and restore power. Additional crews from less impacted areas of the country are deploying in areas of West Munster that have seen the most of the storm damage. These include County Clare, the Iveragh and Dingle peninsulas, North Kerry, West Limerick and parts of Tipperary.," Paul Hand of ESB told Independent.ie.
A separate Status Yellow wind warning was in place from 11pm last night until 9am this morning for Connacht, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Wexford, Wicklow, Offaly, Donegal, Tipperary and Waterford.
Met Éireann said the storm, while violent, was also short-lived.
""The storm center has now moved into Britain. The center is over Northern England at the moment," meteorologist Matthew Martin told Independent.ie
"We still have strong to gale-force north-westerly winds over the North and East parts of the country but we expecting these winds to gradually abate through today. The warnings are going to expire within the next hour and really , the worst is well past through at this stage.
"We expect and improving picture through the day with the rain in the North gradually clearing and the day brightening up throughout the country with just a few passing blustery showers."
"It looks like the worst of the storm came ashore along the Clare coastline. Sparse synoptic stations there. Mace Head had 122kmh gusts. Shannon Airport, which is quite far inland from the coast had 119kmh gusts and then Roches Point had 119kmh gusts as well.
"They're are the highest official recorded gusts so far. They would be in the orange warning threshold. We have mean speed at Shannon Airport and Mace Head that were in the red category."
Very windy to begin. Whilst the winds will abate, it will still be windy into the afternoon, with brisk northwest wind steering down a mix of sunny spells & scattered heavy showers. Winds will fully moderate later with mostly dry weather then too. Cool, with highs of 8 to 12C. pic.twitter.com/iGYtVPuEZK— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) April 27, 2019
A number of trees were brought down by the raging winds as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and gardaí pleaded with motorists to avoid all non-emergency travel in areas with major weather alerts in place at the height of the storm.
Motorists were also urged to drive with extreme caution once the weather alerts were lifted because of the potential for storm debris on roads.
"We are urging people to be very careful on the roads because of Storm Hannah," a Garda source warned. "The wind gusts are expected to reach strong and potentially violent levels in some areas.
"Cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians should be aware of the danger posed by high winds as they are particularly vulnerable.
"Drivers of high-sided vehicles should take all necessary precautions and pay attention to the warnings."
A number of major tourist attractions closed early across the west and mid-west as a public safety precaution.
Ferries in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Galway also suspended services.
In west Cork, Castletownbere RNLI launched to assist fishing vessel which had lost all power and was at the mercy of the storm.
The 33ft fishing vessel lost all power in Bere Haven Harbour in west Cork and the lifeboat crew battled sea conditions reaching force nine to assist the vessel with a crew of two people onboard.
Once on scene the lifeboat crew quickly took the vessel under tow and brought it safely to shore where the crew could seek shelter.
Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens said it was a difficult mission.
"Conditions are very challenging offshore this evening and the crew did a great job in bringing everyone home safe," he said.
"The waves are very high and there are strong winds blowing. We would advise everyone to seek shelter and not attempt to go out during the weather warning."
Councils in Kerry, Cork, Limerick and Clare have repair crews on standby because of concerns over fallen trees, structural damage and road debris.
Clare Co Council's Carmel Kirby confirmed their crisis management team was convened.
"The strong message we want to give out is to go home, tie up any loose material in your garden or outside your house and stay inside until the storm passes," she said.
"The safest thing to do is for people to stay indoors."