Thousands without power in West Cork after storm surge

West Cork was one of the first areas to bear the brunt of Ophelia and a huge clean-up operation will continue today for the biggest storm in living memory.

Flooding at Tragumna, outside Skibbereen, in West Cork yesterday. Picture: Emma Jervis

One of the most dramatic episodes occurred in Schull when the roof of the Coast Guard station peeled off the building and flipped into the yard of the nearby Garda station.

Denis O’Regan of the local Coast Guard said the roof began moving at 10am in the high winds before becoming detached.

The boat and jeep attached to the station were undamaged, the absent roof affecting the office and requiring all paperwork and computers to be moved. A temporary seal will be put in place today to prevent any further damage, but Mr O’Regan said damage from Ophelia was widespread in the area.

At one point yesterday Niall Twomey of the West Cork Civil Defence said all roads in the area were impassable at a certain point because of fallen trees.

High winds were noticeable from before dawn and electricity outages occurred in places from shortly before 8am.

By early yesterday afternoon ESB Networks said that at least 274,000 households were without power, based almost entirely on figures for its South West District which incorporates Co Cork, parts of South Kerry, Tipperary and into areas of Kilkenny.

In the same area at least 900 separate power faults had been detected, with a spokesman for ESB Networks stating some could require pole or transformer replacement. It means most households could have to wait days before power is restored.

By 2pm yesterday the figures made for grim reading: in the Bandon district, 3,000 houses in the town and surrounding area without power; 2,200 households without power in the Beal an Blath area; 2,500 in Carrigaline; 3,200 in Clonakilty; 2,200 in Timoleague. In the Dunmanway electricity district there were around 20,000 homes without power. In Ballydehob the figure was 2,000, in Bantry, 2,500, in Castletownbere it stood it 1,600, in Dunmanway town and environs, 1,400, and the area most affected was Skibbereen, where almost 7,000 homes were without power following the worst of the weather. That figure comprised 1,400 in Skibbereen, 1,700 in Leap, 1,300 in Aghadown and 2,000 in Baltimore.

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