Storm conditions cause severe disruption to road and electricity networks
Met Éireann not forecasting any improvement this week
Sandbags placed on the pier edge in Passage East, Co Waterford, helped stave off more flooding last night following Monday’s unexpected floods. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Emergency responders have said the scale and frequency of stormy conditions over the past six weeks have left them stretched as more flooding and high winds yesterday brought severe disruption to transport and electricity networks.
The AA’s director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan last night said the conditions were “right up there in terms of the most disruptive events we’ve had”.
“We had some very severe traffic delays, including a 19km tailback on the M50 at one point, which is as bad as we’ve seen in quite some years. It’s really been a pattern of storms for about six weeks now.
“There are short-term consequences like really severe traffic jams which we’ve been enduring over the last 36 hours and then, longer-term, we would have concerns about the damage done – particularly to the secondary road network.
“I think the national pothole epidemic will inevitably get worse. Then there is the specific storm damage around the coasts which will have a one-off repair bill that will be counted in the multiples of millions as well – so it’s a serious setback for our roads.”
He said the AA’s breakdown service was “extremely busy” yesterday due to motorists attempting to drive through floodwater.
Eircom director of corporate affairs Paul Bradley also said the past six weeks had been difficult, with some 100,000 faults in the network. Yesterday alone, there were 10,500 faults in the system, of which 2,000 were repaired. Another 10,000 faults were expected in the coming days.
“Our underground cables have withstood damage,” he said. “Most of the damage from this storm was wind-related rather than flooding. The wind has knocked down trees, took out telephone poles, things like that.”
A spokeswoman for ESB Networks said there were about 19,000 people without power yesterday during the peak of the storm – but this figure was down to below 1,000 by last night.
She said the worst affected areas were in the southwest, with Cork city, Bandon, and Fermoy, faring the worst. Waterford, Clonmel and Portlaoise also had “quite big outages”.
Met Éireann is not forecasting an end in sight to the conditions, with more rain today before it is to turn “very wet and very windy again” later tomorrow, with some more flooding possible, particularly in the south and east.
The bad weather will continue into the weekend, with Saturday bringing “heavy, thundery downpours” as well as “very windy conditions” and “further showery rain” on Sunday.