Storm that battered west and south coasts was a ‘category one hurricane’

Woman rescued from water at Galway docks after being swept off a quay wall

Malachy Duggan with his two-year-old daughter Easkey with the trampoline that appeared in their back garden in Knocknacarra, Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Malachy Duggan with his two-year-old daughter Easkey with the trampoline that appeared in their back garden in Knocknacarra, Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Sat, Dec 28, 2013, 01:00

The storm which battered the west and south coasts reached category one hurricane status in Galway harbour early yesterday

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Peak wind speeds of 73 knots or 135km/h hit the docks at 12.15am, several hours after a woman was rescued from the water after she was swept off a quay wall.

Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan said gardaí were alerted and the RNLI Galway lifeboat was sent to assist the woman, who was knocked to the ground and over into an area known as the “mud dock” by the force of the wind shortly after 10pm on Thursday.

The lifeboat was then stood down as the woman was assisted out.

Capt Sheridan said winds could reach category one hurricane from 64 knots (119km/h) up, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Red alert

One ship which sought refuge in Galway Bay this week reported 11m

high seas en route, and island ferry sailings were disrupted. Some residents of Clare and Inishturk islands off Mayo returned home just before the “red alert” storm hit, having had to spend Christmas Day on the mainland due to bad weather earlier this week.

Heavy rain caused rivers to rise, with the Suck, the Shannon’s main tributary, bursting its banks near Ballyforan in south Roscommon and causing some flooding across farmland on the Galway-Roscommon border.

Irish Farmers’ Association president John Bryan urged farm families to be especially careful when carrying out necessary farmyard work during the very stormy conditions across the country, due to the risk of injury by falling debris or swinging gates.

Trampoline

Several parts of Galway city and county experienced power cuts, with ESB crews working overnight to restore supply, while telephone lines and broadband w

ere also affected in some areas.

Fallen trees and branches made for hazardous driving throughout the west, while Galway city gardaí maintained closure of Dr Colohan Road between Grattan Road and Seapoint in Salthill due to the danger of sea surges.

In Galway city centre, residents of several houses on St John’s Terrace spent another sleepless night as debris from the Connacht Laundry site was lifted continuously by the winds and smashed repeatedly against their rear walls.

The debris includes a galvanised shed which hurtled into the rear yard of one of the houses earlier in the week, making access to the yard impossible and blocking a public walkway.

In Knocknacarra on the city’s west side, resident Malachy Duggan in the Binn Bhan estate was yesterday still seeking the owner of a trampoline which landed in his back garden, with part of the structure catching on his fence.

“It must have blown from a garden somewhere in the vicinity,” Mr Duggan said, or “ Santa’s aim was a little bit off”.

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