‘Worst behind us’ but another storm due

Batten down the hatches — another storm is bearing down on Ireland.

‘Worst behind us’ but another storm due

As the country began the clean-up yesterday after being battered by one of the worst storms in 15 years, Met Éireann warned that another storm is due to hit tomorrow night.

But forecaster Vincent O’Shea said tomorrow’s winds will not be as strong as they were on Thursday.

Nevertheless, Met Éireann is poised to issue an amber or possibly an orange severe weather alert tomorrow as it tracks the progress of the latest weather system.

“The worst is behind us and while the winds are easing, it will still be very blustery today,” said Mr O’Shea.

“We expect moderate westerly breezes throughout today and tomorrow. It will be pleasant and dry. But we are forecasting more strong winds and rain on Sunday night. It won’t be as bad as it has been but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Met Éireann issued just its second ever red alert ahead of Thursday’s storm, predicting damaging winds of up to 150km/h.

Mr O’Shea confirmed that the west coast and Munster bore the brunt of the violent and sustained storm force winds, with sustained gusts of up to 60 knots recorded at various weather stations around the country.

The highest wind gusts over land of 71 knots (135km/h) were recorded at Sherkin Island in West Cork and at Mace Head in Galway, with comparable gusts recorded in Mayo.

The winds were officially classed at violent storm force 11 — not strong enough to be classed as hurricane force winds.

The storm, one of the strongest to hit the country since Christmas Eve 1999, caused extensive structural damage, widespread travel disruption, and interrupted electricity supply to up to 70,000 households.

ESB Networks recorded more than 500 individual faults nationwide, with most of its network damage concentrated in the south and west.

In Kerry, more than 5,000 customers lost supply, with almost 3,500 customers in Kilkee, Ennistymon, Cracloe, Kilrush, and Scariff in Co Clare without power.

The ESB launched a major repair operation and had power restored to about 35,000 customers by lunchtime.

Eircom said more than 7,500 of its customers were without telephone and broadband service. Its network in Cork, Galway, Mayo, Kilkenny, Carlow, and Wexford experienced the worst damage.

It restored service to 2,250 customers between Christmas Eve and St Stephen’s Day but high winds and lightning hampered the repair efforts of some of its 700 crews on duty yesterday.

Exposed areas of some southern and western counties also experienced coastal flooding, and dozens of trees and telephone or electricity poles were blown down, closing several roads.

There were delays and some cancellations of flights in and out of Cork and Dublin Airports yesterday morning. Both airports experienced severe disruption on Thursday night, with severe gusts forcing six diversions from Dublin to Shannon, and three from Cork to Shannon.

* To check a power fault in your area log on to www.esbpowercheck.ie or download the PowerCheck app.

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