Storm Gareth: thousands of homes left without power as 120kmh winds slam into coast
800 homes without electricity in Donegal
Winds of up to 120km/h at Malin Head
Motorists warned of fallen trees
A mammoth clean-up begins this morning after Storm Gareth battered parts of the country and left thousands of homes without power.
The epicentre of the storm was last night felt in Co Donegal, as Malin Head weather station reported wind gusts of 120kmh.
Some 760 houses in Glenties, Co Donegal experienced a loss of power supply this morning, as well as homes in Galway, Limerick, Wexford and Dublin.
AA Roadwatch advised motorists to use caution on roads this morning, with a number of falling trees blocking roads in Wicklow, Wexford and Cavan.
There will be some sunny spells and a few showers today, but cloud will increase later in the afternoon with rain spreading into Connacht, Ulster and north Leinster.
However the rain will become heavy and widespread tonight, making it another wet and windy night.
This morning will be windy but the strong and gusty westerly winds will decrease fresh to strong later. It will be bright with some sunny spells and a few showers at first, but cloud will increase with rain spreading into Connacht, Ulster and north Leinster during the.....— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) March 13, 2019
A Status Orange wind warning was in place until 9am this morning in Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo, while there was a Status Yellow warning for Munster, Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan and Roscommon.
Met Éireann said the orange warning would last until 9am today and it was likely to be graded down into a yellow warning until midday. "But people still need to be on guard," Ms Ryan said.
"There is likely to be debris from the previous night and we may have witnessed severe and damaging gusts overnight.
"In these winds, it is difficult enough to drive. And at least, if the worst gusts take place overnight, which is what we expect, most people are home and that becomes a night time event."
Conor Faughnan, from the AA, said he would be watching the storm's progression.
"Donegal and Sligo are badly affected by the storm and down south in Galway, where the storm has bit more than expected.
"Drivers and pedestrians need to remember these are strong gusts, as predicted. Wednesday is a day to be very careful on the road.
"The storm may have passed but there is likely to be debris, particularly on secondary roads."
The strongest winds from #StormGareth are currently across Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Northern Ireland & SW Scotland. 81mph gust was seen at Malin Head earlier. Large waves at the coast. Strong winds will take over much of the UK & Ireland tonight. Disruption possible— Sky News Weather (@SkyNewsWeather) March 12, 2019
Sligo County Council tweeted last night that a tree was down on the N15 half a kilometre from the Sligo side of Grange.
The council said its repair crew were on route to move the tree.
Forecaster Siobhán Ryan told Independent.ie that the "best advice" last night was to "stay at home", as counties Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo braced amid a Status Orange wind warning.
Ms Ryan also warned commuters not to be complacent this morning and urged people to be prepared for the remnants of Storm Gareth.
This was echoed by the AA, which asked drivers and pedestrians to stay aware as they make journeys to work and school. Maintenance workers were expecting a long night ahead and teams were on standby into this morning to fix power outages.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you come across fallen trees be aware that there may be fallen wires. Please DO NOT APPROACH as the wires could be live and would be extremely dangerous. Please stay clear and phone ESB Networks immediately on 1850 372 999 , 021 238 2410 pic.twitter.com/1nNdOImEV9— ESB Networks (@ESBNetworks) March 12, 2019
Forecaster Ms Ryan said: "The north west and coastal counties, particularly in those regions, are worst affected by Storm Gareth.
"The main feature is its sustained winds, increasing in speed and force since midday.
"It won't be until [Wednesday] morning that it will ease down.
"It will stay blustery throughout the day, though the worst of the weather will be over.
"There's an Orange level in the north and north west and Donegal is getting hit the worst.
"It's particularly windy up there, it's hitting the high end of an orange warning.
"The threshold is being reached in Donegal."