Tuesday 21 January 2020

Storm Brendan: Weather warnings downgraded but 48,000 homes and businesses remain without power

  • Met Eireann downgrade warnings as tracks away
  • Gusts of up to 130km/h; some flight cancellations
  • ESB Networks working to restore power
  • Status Red marine warning for all Irish coasts
Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @GalwayWalks of a pier in Salthill, Ireland, as Storm Brendan sweeps across Ireland and the UK with winds gusting up to 80mph. Photo: Brian Nolan/PA Wire
Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @GalwayWalks of a pier in Salthill, Ireland, as Storm Brendan sweeps across Ireland and the UK with winds gusting up to 80mph. Photo: Brian Nolan/PA Wire
Stormy weather (Tim Ireland/PA)
Worse to come: Shoppers with umbrellas on the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin on the weekend. Photo: Frank McGrath

Allison Bray, Mícheál Ó Scannáil and Rachel Farrell

MET Éireann have downgraded the wind warnings as Storm Brendan moves across Ireland, but thousands of homes and businesses remain without power.

There is no longer a wind warning in place for much of Leinster and parts of the midlands, but a Status Orange warning has been downgraded to Status Yellow for Wexford, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford.

The warning is in place until 8pm tonight.

A Status Orange wind warning remains for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo until midnight tonight, with gusts of 100 to 130 km/h expected.

ESB Networks said 48,000 homes and businesses are without power, with the southwest the worst affected area.

Crews have been deployed to restore power as quickly as possible in the affected areas and people are being urged not to approach any fallen wires, as they could be live and dangerous.

“Gale force winds associated with Storm Brendan, with gusts of over 130 km/h, have caused damage this morning to the electricity network affecting more than 48,000 homes, farms and businesses," an ESB spokesperson said.

"The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. With the storm still crossing the country, more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected,” he said.

“The counties most impacted include Galway, Limerick, Kerry, Cork and Donegal. ESB Networks crews have been dispatched in the most affected areas when safe to do so, assessing the damage so that they can restore power as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Races at Punchestown were cancelled this morning following a course inspection and consultations with Met Eireann. Updates on rescheduling are expected to follow.

A number of flights to the UK from Shannon Airport have been cancelled, including Aer Lingus flights to London Heathrow and Edinburgh.

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said on social media that they are "monitoring the situation at this time".

A Ryanair flight with 134 passengers on board from Manchester was diverted as was another Ryanair flight from London Stansted, with 111 passengers.

All passengers were then bused to Shannon Airport from Cork to resume their journeys once the winds died down.

Thousands of households are without power in Cork and Kerry this morning as the storms moves across the country. Dublin Fire Brigade tweeted that people should charge their batteries now in the event of a significant power failure in the greater Dublin area as the storm peaks.

While the National Parks and Wildlife Service asked the public not to visit any of its national parks, monuments or nature reserves while the weather warnings are in place.

Head of forecasting at Met Éireann Evelyn Cusack warned that, despite wind speeds of over 130kmh being predicted, the most significant risk is of widespread flooding.

"It's a very deep, active storm," she told the Irish Independent.

"There will be very high seas on the Atlantic coast, and this combined with a high tide and storm surge leaves a high risk of coastal flooding around all of Ireland, not just in the west.

"There is a big risk of flooding. Local authorities have been warned and are prepared," she added.

The storm caused major disruption for commuters in Cork city and parts of Kerry and Donegal where dozens of reports of fallen trees and other debris caused havoc on the roads, leading to major delays around Cork city this morning.

Flood defences in Clontarf ahead of the forecasted storm. Picture: Arthur Carron.
Flood defences in Clontarf ahead of the forecasted storm. Picture: Arthur Carron.

A trampoline was reportedly blown onto the M7 near the University of Limerick exit in Limerick city this morning.

AA Roadwatch reported a number of trees down on the N72 between Fermoy in Co Cork and Tallow in Co Waterford as well as on the South City link in Cork city while in Co Kerry the N69 and N70 were partially blocked down to downed trees in around Listowel and Kenmare.

Bus Eireann also cancelled some services in counties Galway, Limerick and Mayo with some school bus services cancelled in county Galway leading to the closure of some schools.

Services between Macroom in Co Cork and Killarney in Co Kerry were also cancelled while fallen trees in Limerick lead to the diversion of some routes.

Bus Eireann also cancelled its 890 Expressway/Eurolines route after Stena Line cancelled its sailings between Ferries Rosslare and Fishguard.

“We continue to monitor weather conditions, local road conditions and are working closely with Met Éireann. The School Transport Scheme, which Bus Éireann operate on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills (DoES) also operated with a very small number of curtailments,” a Bus Eireann spokesman said.

Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny said its services were running normally this morning but it was keeping an eye on potential coastal flooding along the east coast of Dublin this afternoon which could have an impact on DART services.

Homeowners and motorists have been warned to take precautionary steps as the storm sweeps across the country.

Insurance bodies said people should move cars away from trees, and ensure houses are waterproof.

Drivers should take out their insurance policies and check what they are covered for, said representative body Brokers Ireland.

And they should only travel if it is absolutely necessary. If motorists do take to the road they should be familiar with breakdown phone numbers.

Meanwhile, a Status Red marine warning is in place with winds set to reach violent storm force 11 at times along the Atlantic coast.

Dublin City Council said it had been "monitoring the forthcoming unsettled weather" and as a result had erected flood defences and closed the car parks at Clontarf and Sandymount from 6am today.

Dublin Port Company said there would be temporary closures of the Great South Wall and the North Bull Wall Bridge today and delays to some shipping activity were expected.

Galway City Council has also erected its flood defences at the Spanish Arch to protect local businesses, while the prom in Salthill will be closed today.

The Road Safety Authority urged all road users to be cautious today and to beware of objects being blown onto the road.

"Expect road conditions to change quickly in high winds so reduce your speed.

"Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road," it said in a statement.

Drivers are asked to allow extra space between themselves and cyclists and motorcyclists.

Irish Independent

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