Thousands without power as ‘status red’ warning remains

A young woman is killed by a falling tree in Westmeath and roof collapses injure 8 in Cork and Co Limerick

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 22:35

Thousands of homes and businesses are without power in the South and West tonight as the Met Éireann ‘status red’ weather warning of 150km/h winds remains in place.

One person died and eight others were injured after high winds felled trees and caused structural damage to buildings across the country.

The ESB said tonight it’s crews are working to restore power to as many customers as possible.

Cork Kent station

Over 250 separate faults are affecting the network, caused mainly by falling branches. The majority of customers now impacted are in the midlands, west and north west of the country. The worst affected areas include Newport, Belmullet and Westport in Co Mayo.

A 23-year-old woman died when her car was struck by a tree in Co Westmeath this afternoon. The woman was the sole occupant of a car which was struck by a falling tree on the Ballymahon Road outside Mullingar. She was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar where gardaí said she later died from her injuries. Three people were injured this afternoon when a section of the roof canopy at Kent Station in Cork collapsed and five people were hurt when severe winds hit the town of Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

In Cork, roofing on platforms 1 and 2 collapsed shortly after 3pm at Kent Station and landed on an unoccupied passenger train. Three people on the platform at the time suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital. Five units of Cork Fire Brigade attended the scene.

Kent Station was closed for several hours and arrangements were made to bus passengers to their destination. It reopened at 7.45pm. The station will be fully reopened from first service in the morning, but services may be subject to minor delays. Iarnród Éireann has placed a 50mph speed limit on train lines in the West and North-West for the remainder of the evening.

There is severe traffic disruption around the country and gardaí in Galway have closed the Salthill Promenade from the Grattan Rd to Blackrock until further notice due to standing water following high tide.

Alan Dineen, a student from Midleton, was waiting for the 3.15pm train to Midleton when the roof collapsed.

“It was like a freak wind came out of nowhere, wheelie bins stared flying, and the roof came crashing down on some glass barriers.”

“It was really scary. It happened so suddenly. Like something out of a movie”

The collapse is thought to have been caused by a storm sweeping the country which had prompted weather forecasters to issue a “code red” alert for Counties Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo.

Five people were injured after an entire roof blew off a building and slates and timber fell from several other buildings in the town of Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

A local garda described the weather surge as a freak storm.

“It suddenly blew up with torrential rain at about 3pm and about half an hour later it had all subsided,” Garda Marie Twohig added.

The injured - four men and a woman who were described as “walking wounded” - were struck by falling debris after winds blew slates and planks of timber from several buildings in the town.

They have been taken to University Hospital Limerick, however their injuries are not believed to be serious.

Sarsfield Street, the main street, has been closed off by Gardai as safety officers from Limerick County Council survey the damage.

An entire roof came off Cregg’s shop, which closed in 2007, next to the town’s Supervalu supermarket. It’s understood three of the injured were carrying out works at the building when the roof was suddenly lifted by the storm.

A couple in a nearby car were also injured when they were struck by debris when it smashed into the vehicles windows.

ESB Networks has asked that only customers who are able to report the location of damage to the electricity network should call on 1850 372 999.

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