Saturday 21 September 2019

Widespread rain to continue this weekend after Storm Diana left 40,000 without electricity

  • ESB crews worked overnight to restore power to households and businesses
  • More 'unsettled' weather on the way with risk of thunder and hail today
  • Motorists urged to take care on wet roads causing heavy traffic this morning
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: The Coast Guard comes to the assistance of a walker on Dublin’s Great South Wall. Photo: PA

Ralph Riegel and Rachel Farrell

Storm Diana may have crossed Ireland's path yesterday but the heavy rain will continue to spread across the country this afternoon with a risk of hail and thunder, according to Met Éireann.

Storm Diana caused travel chaos as torrential rainfall and high winds inflicted significant disruption on ports, airports and roads.

The latest forecast shows that rain in the east will clear this morning and become scattered with some sunny spells, but showers are expected to become more widespread during the afternoon.

The scattered showers will continue tonight with lowest temperatures between 4 and 7 degrees.

Tomorrow will see further scattered showers and the return of some sunny spells, but the "unsettled" period is expected to continue into the weekend and the beginning of next week.

The national outlook is "rather unsettled with showers or spells of rain and cloudy or dull overall with few sunny spells," Met Éireann has said.

"On Saturday morning rain will clear the north and northeast followed by a few bright or sunny spells and just a few showers. However, a further spell of rain will push into the southwest by evening.

"Top temperatures will be around 6 to 12 degrees, coolest in the north. Winds will be mostly moderate southwest at first and veer northwest by mid-day."

The rain will become widespread on Saturday night but is expected to clear by Sunday morning.

"Sunday will see some outbreaks of showery rain but some dry periods as well with a few bright or sunny spells. Afternoon temperatures will range from 7 to 12 or 13 degrees, again coolest in the north.

"It will continue rather unsettled in the early days of next week with risk of frost on Monday night and a spell of heavy rain on Tuesday."

Almost 40,000 people were left without power on Wednesday as fallen trees damaged electricity supply lines.

ESB crews were working last night to restore power to all households and businesses. The worst hit were counties Kilkenny, Kildare and Cork.

However, coastal counties avoided major damage as the storm proved less destructive than initially feared with a status orange warning in place.

Cork Airport cancelled a total of 14 flights yesterday morning due to the gusts.

At Sherkin Island in west Cork, winds gusted to a national high of 122kmh at lunchtime.

Parts of Cork county, particularly around the Macroom area, lost power due to fallen trees and downed electricity lines. Almost 2,000 customers were affected around Cork.

The worst of the power outages occurred in Co Kilkenny, where some 8,000 homes lost electricity supplies due to fallen trees and damaged power lines.

A further 3,000 homes lost power in Co Kildare.

The ESB said its repair crews were on standby but could only begin repair operations once weather conditions eased and it was safe to do so.

Cork Airport urged passengers to check with their airlines for all flight details.

The airport resumed normal flight operations late yesterday with a full flight schedule operating today.

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

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

High tide in the city was at 9am but major property damage did not materialise.

Worst hit were low-lying parts of the city quays with minor flooding only affecting parking spaces.

In Kerry, Strand Street in Dingle was temporarily impassable due to the tidal surge.

Kerry County Council also reported some disruption due to fallen trees along routes in Inch, Kilgarvan and the Conor Pass.

Wild: The Coast Guard comes to the assistance of a walker on Dublin’s Great South Wall. Photo: PA

In Galway, the Salthill promenade was closed amid fears over high winds and seas.

Cork City Council emergency response teams remained on standby until lunchtime when the conditions eased.

In Co Cork, heavy rainfall resulted in spot flooding in areas around Mallow, Fermoy, Bandon and Bantry.

Trees were also reported down along the Lee Road and outside Cobh.

Some coastal areas experienced a tidal surge of almost 75cm.

Motorists were urged to drive with extreme caution due to surface water on many rural routes.

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 the worst of the weather conditions passed.

While Storm Diana passed without major incident, a second Atlantic storm is expected to hit within 24 hours.

However, while it has the potential to generate damaging wind gusts, the worst of the weather is expected to make landfall over southern England.

Irish Independent

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