Up to 50,000 will remain without power overnight
High winds, driving rain and snow reported across the State with warning over flooding
Repair and clean-up crews are working in difficult conditions today to restore power to thousands of customers and clear debris caused by Wednesday’s storm.
ESB Networks said 40,000 to 50,000 customers will remain without electricity overnight, ESB Network said. Some will not have their power restored until Sunday, it said.
Met Éireann has issued a status yellow rainfallwarning for Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan up to 6am. It said there will be heavy rain in all areas, between 30mm and 45mm in 24 hours.
High winds, driving rain and snowy conditions were reported across the country as the clean-up entered its second day after one of the most powerful storm systems in living memory wreaked havoc across the south and south east.
Power was restored to over 185,000 customers in just 48 hours. The areas still worst affected include Arklow, Enniscorthy, Killarney, Dunmanway, Bandon, Ennis, Tralee, Limerick, Roscrea, Newcastlewest and Tipperary.
Customers in Killarney and Dunmanyway are not expected to have their power restortred until Sunday, it said. Arklow, Bandon and Enniscorthy are expected to have power restored by tomorrow night.
Over 8,000 individual faults remain on the network, the ESB said, with the majority of these affecting less than four customers each. Some new faults occured today a a result of deterioriting weather coniditins, it said.
“Access is a big problem, with many faults located in isolated areas where ground conditions are treacherous and often very waterlogged. It is difficult to get equipment to where it is needed most, and because many of the phone networks are down, we are finding it very difficult to communicate with crews in the field,” Denis Cambridge, ESB divisional manager for the south said.
A status orange weather warning remains in place until tonight as another Atlantic storm makes its way across the country and there is no let-up in sight for the unsettled weather the country has witnessed since mid-December.
Repair crews are focusing their efforts on repairing faults which pose a danger to public safety, those affecting the largest numbers of customers and faults affecting water treatment plants .
Residents in Cork, Kerry and Limerick were issued with “boil water” warnings on advice from the HSE after concerns were raised that the public water supply may have become contaminated. The majority of water treatment plants and pumping stations were up-and-running by this afternoon.
Speaking following a meeting today of the Government’s emergency weather committee, chairman Seán Hogan said repair work was being carried out to stabilise buildings damaged in the storm. Main roads which were blocked by trees were “by-and-large” clear by yesterday afternoon and mainline rail was also restored.
Assessments were being made regarding the removal of trees weakened by the storm and some trees would need to be taken down “in the interest of public safety,” Mr Hogan said.
“The loss of power remains our biggest issue. Our focus yesterday (Thursday) was on restoring power to priority infrastructure and to those vulnerable people with medical conditions. Significant progress has been made, I am happy to say,” he said.
Mr Hogan paid tribute to the workers who have assisted in the aid effort for days on end. “We are going from storms to floods and snow and ice and it is the same group of people who are working long shifts to keep roads open, to restore power, to maintain public services and we know that it is only with the support of their families that their communities have been able to function as well as they have,” Mr Hogan said.
Gerald Fleming of Met Éireann said the country was still experiencing a period of very unsettled weather. While conditions today are not as bad as earlier in the week, he said the wind and rain is “still enough to cause further threat given that there are trees which are weakened and there are structures which are weakened after the storms on Wednesday.”
Mr Fleming said the weather would remain unsettled over the weekend following a brief respite today. More rain is forecast for the latter half of Sunday after which we will see a return to a 2-day cycle. Mr Fleming siad this is “typical of what we have been experiencing for almost two months - almost back to the beginning of December.”
“So, there’s no let-up in the general character of unsettled, windy and sometimes wet weather.We’ve got a particualr concern with river levels already very high that more and more rain fall is going to add to that.”
While Mr Fleming said forecasters did not see the prospect of any further red-alert category storms in the next three or four days, he said: “Most of the storms over the Atlantic are normal-strength winter storms “but all of them have potential to turn nasty.”
“The forecast systems are pretty good at describing the general character of the weasther and we do expect that to remain broken and unsettled for the foreseeable future - which is about ten days. Beyond that we just don’t know. But, for that period we don’t see any settled weather coming this way.”
In Galway, the county council has requested help from the Defence Forces to remove five families from their homes in the Ardrahan area in the south of the county.
South Galway is experiencing some of its worst flooding since 2009, with no immediate relief from the weather in sight. Approximately 20 roads are closed due to flooding and storm damage in the area.
The Department of Social and Family Affairs and Galway County Council have offered assistance to home-owners in more seriously flooded parts of the area.
In Mayo, driving snow made for hazardous road conditions throughout the county and forced the diversion of three morning flights from Britain into Knock Airport.
Farming has been badly hit by the recent bad weather as saturated lands caused by heavy rain has forced farmers to rehouse their animals so as not to cut up pasture
“The extreme weather since the start of the year, coupled with the start of the lambing and calving season, is making conditions for farm families around the country very difficult,” IFA president Eddie Downey said.
Mr Downey said there will be an inevitable increase in workload and costs due to livestock having to be housed.
The ESB has agreed to facilitate the transportation of generators and other equipment to farmers who are without electricity, especially for farmers who cannot milk cows or provide water for their animals.