Hurricane Ophelia: How is it impacting on your area?

Cork begins to assess damage as red warning remains in operation throughout the country

Photographer Michael MacSweeney was leaning against the 120ft tree in Marina Park, Cork, as it fell. Video: Michael MacSweeney/Provision

 

A storm red warning remains in operation countrywide as Hurricane Ophelia centres on the north of the country and begins to clear northeastwards.

Even though the worst of Ophelia has dissipated, Met Éireann says violent and destructive winds will continue for a time tonight, with further gusts in excess of 110km/h and up to 140km/h still possible. Some flooding may also occur due to heavy thundery downpours and storm surges in coastal areas.

Members of the public have been advised to stay inside and not to make unnecessary journeys as the worst storm the country has seen in more than 50 years passes over.

Hurricane Ophelia has claimed the lives of three people in Waterford, Tipperary and Louth respectively. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended condolences of the country to those who died. He pleaded with people to put safety first .

Schools, RehabCare, National Learning Network centres and all national parks and reserves will remain closed tomorrow.

Public transport has been cancelled across the country, you can find more information on traffic and travel on air, land and sea here.

Cork

Engineers are due to assess the full extent of the damage in Cork city and county as provisional estimates suggest the of destruction to both public infrastructure and private property will run into tens of millions of euro.

Most of the damage caused by the hurricane was wind related with coastal areas largely escaping any major flood damage as the hurricane hit Cork on Monday morning prior to high tide in the afternoon, making sea surges much lower than they might have been had the two coincided.

There were reports of hundreds of trees being knocked with the main N71 road being closed between Leap and Skibbereen for several hours after dozens of trees were blown over.

Other areas affected by fallen trees were Great Island, Cobh, Charleville, Bandon, Kinsale and several routes in the city.

The clean-up operation was also hampered by the fact that many trees and telegraph poles brought down power lines with ESB Network staff working hard to make the lines safe and restore power to thousands of customers in the city and county who were left without supply.

According to Cork County Council it was only late on Monday afternoon that it was safe for staff to go out to begin assessing the damage and Cork City Council similarly only sent out its road and engineering staff late in the afternoon when it was safe to do so.

According to claims specialist Eamon Downey of the Irish Claims Consultants Association, the bill for damage to private property in Cork could exceed €50 million.

Aside from damage to houses, several cars were also damaged by falling trees and one woman had a lucky escape when driving towards Tower from Blarney when a falling tree landed just in front of her car and the branches smashed down on the bonnet of the vehicle but she emerged unscathed.

The Munster Football Association confirmed that Hurricane Ophelia has caused major damage to one of the stands at Turner’s Cross. Regardless, Cork City will take on Derry City in a League of Ireland clash at the stadium on Tuesday evening but the affected Derrynane Stand will remain closed.

Kerry

The worst of Hurricane Ophelia passed over Kerry by 2.30pm leaving hundreds of mature trees blown down, flooding in a number of locations and few roads clear of branches and fences.

Thousands of homes from Rathmore in the foothills of the Paps on the Cork border to Glencar valley hidden in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks were left without power.

The south Kerry coastal area, Kenmare and tourist town Killarney took the brunt.

Tourists huddled by smokey downdraughts in hotels as the worst of it whirled, and town centres remained deserted.

Slates came off St Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney and major tree falls took place in the Killarney National Park, which had closed to the public.

A full list of fallen trees and affected areas is available hereand the council’s emergency number is (066) 7183588 to report road closures.

Cuman Iosef in Tralee managed to get dinners to the elderly as did many resource centres in Kerry.

Tom Randles, of Killarney Randles Court and chairman of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, says the big worry for Killarney’s 40-plus hotels is generators. “Many of the older and smaller hotels do not have them. The big worry from a hotel point of view is the danger of darkness. When the power is out, lifts don’t work, computers are down.”

Dublin

The National Emergency Co-ordination Centre said the worst of the storm will hit Dublin between 5pm and 7pm. There are trees down across the city and Dublin City Council crews are dealing with these and other issues as they are notified.

Some of the roads and areas affected include: Leeson St, Deansgrange, Kilshane Cross, Northwood Avenue, Griffith Avenue, Knocksedan and Naul road near Dublin Airport, Monestry road, Lower Road Lucan, Tower Road, Castleknock.

Motorists have been advised to avoid the Tom Clarke (Eastlink) Bridge as gusts are picking up and it is “extremely dangerous”, according to AA Roadwatch.

Access to Bull Island has been restricted, and St James’s Hospital is accessible via the Rialto entrance only due to fallen trees on James’s St.

Dublin Fire Brigade is dealing with scaffolding down on Dorset Street and a fallen tree on Clyde Road in Ballsbridge

Power lines are down and outages have been reported in Swords.

Morning traffic volumes in the 6am to 8am rush hour on M50 were well down from normal and traffic on the main inter-urban motorways has fallen even more sharply, according to initial data.

The average flow of traffic today between junctions 7 and 9 on the M50 - the country’s busiest road - was 20,993, a third lower than the 31,348 recorded in the same period one week earlier, according to figures on the Transport Infrastructure Ireland website. The peak traffic time after 7am showed a total of 8,385, compared to 11,956 last Monday.

Rest of Leinster

The most severe winds along the east coast in counties Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Westmeath, Meath and Louth were forecast for the afternoon and early evening.

The RNLI Rosslare all-weather lifeboat took a ten-metre yacht with three people on board under tow into Rosslare harbour, after a mayday was issued from the vessel shortly after 10am.

The yacht was nine miles off Rosslare, and was being swamped in heavy seas. The RNLI crew put a drogue on the yacht to keep its bow up in heavy weather.

A RNLI spokeswoman said that all on board the yacht were understood to be safe and well, and the lifeboat was making progress towards the coast.

Gardaí sought air-sea rescue assistance when several kite surfers among a group of five surfers in Dundalk Bay disappeared from view.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based Rescue 116 helicopter was tasked, along with the RNLI Clogherhead lifeboat and Greenore Coast Guard in Co Louth.

However, the surfers made it back to shore, and the emergency services were stood down.

Galway/Mayo

The west coast escaped the worst of Storm Ophelia, with spot flooding and trees felled, but up to 7,300 homes and businesses in parts of Galway and Mayo are without power to night.

ESB Networks predict it could be up to ten days before power it is fully restored in more isolated areas, but the larger population areas in the west have not been seriously affected.

Main areas with outages in Co Galway tonight are Glenamaddy, Ballygar, Athenry, Oranmore, Loughrea and Tynagh along with some 1600 customers in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo.

Irish Water says that the Gort and Kinvara water supplies have been affected by power outages, along with parts of the south-east and north of Co Galway, where water conservation is urged.

The “eye” of the storm coincided with high tide in Galway early on Monday afternoon, transforming the docks into a cauldron.

Seas driven by screaming southerly winds surged over pierheads and rushed across Salthill promenade during a 45 minute period - before receding as rapidly in bright sunshine.

Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan said the winds were the worst he had witnessed in 18 years.

As he had predicted, the south coast received the first and worst impact, with wind speeds of 191 km an hour at Fastnet rock off the south-west coast.

Mace Head station in Connemara recorded rainfall of 17 mm by early afternoon - with eight mm falling in an hour, almost matching Valentia island in Co Kerry.

There was some minor damage in the harbour, but all boats within the dock gates survived the elements, as did several fuel tankers which were hove to and at anchor in the bay.

In spite of the risks, several swimmers took the sea at Blackrock, Co Galway, prompting a call to emergency services.

Galway City Council have extended the closure of Salthill promenade tonight for safety reasons, and to allow for clearing of debris. Leisureland, which had been extensively flooded over three years ago, was not affected.

Connemara National Park, Coole and Dromore nature reserves in Co Galway and Ballycroy national park in Co Mayo will remain closed on Tuesday.

Limerick

A flooding alert for Limerick city and along parts of the Shannon Estuary earlier today has been cancelled.

The river Shannon submerged a section of the boardwalk at Clancy Strand but levels have been subsiding since high tide at 5pm.

However, water levels remain high and flood defences are still in place and the council is urging people to exercise extreme caution near the rivers and estuary as winds are still very strong and waters are choppy and highly unpredictable.

Clancy Strand has re-opened to traffic.

There were some minor localised flooding on a footpath in Askeaton and near Askeaton Swimming Pool but no properties are reported to be flooded.

National primary and regional roads have been cleared of trees and debris but there is a significant amount of fallen trees on local roads and they may continue to fall as the winds remain strong and gusty.

Clare

Clare managed to avoid the worst of the storm despite coastal towns such as Lahinch being lashed by heavy winds. The Cliffs of Moher visitors’ centre remained closed for the day. Mayo also appeared to avoid major damage although many homes are without power in the county.

Waterford/Tipperary

There were many reports of trees felled by the high winds across Co Waterford and the rest of the southeast. The roof of the Lidl supermarket on Davis Road in Clonmel was blown off, as was the roof of the Curtains & Blinds shop on Clonmel’s O’Connell Street in Co Tipperary.

There was damage done to the roof of Clerihan National School, between Clonmel and Cashel in Co Tipperary, while the roofs were blown off seven buildings on Brown Street in Portlaw, Co Waterford.

Midlands

There were scores of road closures reported in the Midlands, with fallen trees blocking or partially blocking national and regional roads in counties Kildare, Tipperary, Wicklow, Clare, Longford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Westmeath and Cavan. Local councils were working throughout the day to clear the roads.

Offaly

Authorities said there were fallen trees at around 60 locations across Co Offaly. In and around Edenderry there were trees down in 22 sites, with roads blocked and power lines down in places. There was a similar situation in the Tullamore area, where trees and poles were down in 20 locations. A further 18 sites in the Birr area had fallen trees, some blocked roads and downed power lines. Power remained out in the Charleville Road area of Tullamore town and in Crinkle and Tubberderry. Elsewhere in Co Offaly, a water main burst east of Cushina Cross on the Walsh Island Water Scheme.

Sligo/ Leitrim

Thousands of homes across the northwest are without power as Hurricane Ophelia batters the region.

Over 3,000 homes in Co Leitrim are without power including over 1,300 in the Carrick-on-Shannon/Leitrim village areas.

Power outages have also been reported in Jamestown, Arigna, Drumshanbo, Eslin, Killeshandra, Carrigallen, Kilnagross, Killeshandra and Gortletteragh.

Joe Dolan, owner of the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, one of few businesses in the region remaining open, said they would not be shutting their doors and would provide whatever help they could as long as the storm continues. The hotel has been catering for emergency workers including staff from Eircom, the ESB and local ambulance crews throughout the day.

Sligo County Council has warned that fallen trees have made a number off roads impassable. The R286 Sligo to Dromahair road is blocked because of fallen trees two miles on the Sligo side of Parke’s Castle.

Roads are closed between Tubbercurry and Gurteen, and also between Old School Carn and Cuilmore Cross, Gurteen. A fallen tree at Monasteraden village has been cleared but the Ballindoon to Castlebaldwin road is blocked as is the Ross road out of Riverstown village.

Sligo County Council’s “Severe Weather Coordination committee” has been meeting throughout the day and has warned the public not to make any unnecessary journeys as strong winds batter the landscape.

A number of roads across Co Roscommon have also been blocked due to fallen trees.

Local authorities in Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon warned the public to be aware of the threat posed by falling trees , while some areas were expected to experience severe flooding with heavy rains predicted.

Donegal

Donegal is now beginning to feel the brunt of Hurricane Ophelia. More than 100 homes in Bundoran and Rossgeir are the first areas with reported faults as Ophelia moves northwards.

Storm-force winds did not develop in the northwest until just after 5pm. Gardai are appealing to stay away from a number of roads including the Termon to Dunlewey roads because of high winds.

The Harry Blaney Bridge at Fanad is closed until 8am on Tuesday morning.

A fallen tree temporarily blocked the main Lifford to Letterkenny Road just before 5.30pm but this has since been cleared. High winds continue to batter the county but no other major incidents have been reported as of 7.15pm this evening. A spokesman for Donegal County Council says they will continue to monitor the storm and that their staff are on standby. Council chairman Cllr Gerry McMonagle has appealed to people not to take chances and to remain indoors this evening. “There is a temptation to go outside and see what the winds are like but I would appeal to people to stay indoors. We have already seen the danger this storm has caused,” he said.

Northern Ireland

A number of roads are closed in Co Derry due to fallen trees as Hurricane Ophelia begins to batter the northwest.

In Magherafelt the Annaghmore and Glenmaquill Roads are closed, as is the Birren Road and Legavallon Roads in Dungiven.

The Hillhead Road in Castledawson, has now re-opened, as has the Feeny Road, which had been closed to clear tree branches.

In Derry city, which has virtually closed down, the Peace Bridge remains closed as a precautionary measure.

The Foyle Bridge in Derry has been closed to high-sided vehicles due to strong winds. A 48kph (30mph) speed limit is in place for all other vehicles.

All bus services have been suspended. NI Railways is not operating any services which depart after 5.10pm.

Sandbags are on standby in case of flooding, and arrangements are in place to provide rest centres if needed.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust has postponed all routine outpatient appointments and routine treatments for this afternoon at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, Omagh Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen. Day care services have also been closed.

Schools and universities closed in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia. The North’s Department of Education said that schools will remained closed on Tuesday and all further education colleges will also remain closed.

The Northern Secretary James Brokenshire said the British army would be brought in to deal with emergencies should it be needed.

Approximately 18,500 customers are now without electricity across all parts of Northern Ireland.