Storm Barra: Schools to reopen tomorrow as winds ease

Dangerous sea conditions forecast for Thursday morning as 13,000 remain without power

Powerful gusts of wind and heavy rain signalled the arrival of Storm Barra to Dublin.

 

Winds eased across Ireland on Wednesday as Storm Barra moved into the North Sea although 13,000 households and businesses remained without power on Wednesday night.

Met Éireann meteorologist Aoife Kealy said the storm was due to “track away from Ireland and into the North Sea on Wednesday evening.

She warned that conditions at sea would remain “rough and dangerous” until Thursday morning with the Coast Guard urging the public to “remain mindful” of the risks associated with stormy sea conditions.

Schools all over the country will open as normal on Thursday following two days of closures due to Storm Barra, the Department of Education advised. The Department of Further Education said third-level institutions should open as usual as well.

The storm brought severe winds throughout Tuesday night, with the worst of the weather in the north and northwest of the country with severe or damaging gusts of 100km/h-130km/h, with localised stronger winds likely.

Power outages

Shortly before 9pm on Wednesday, around 13,000 electricity customers were without power.

A damaged hoarding on Shinkeen Road in Celbridge, Co Kildare, as a result of damage due to Storm Barra. Photograph: Alan Betson
A damaged hoarding on Shinkeen Road in Celbridge, Co Kildare, as a result of damage due to Storm Barra. Photograph: Alan Betson

While poor weather conditions hampered repair works in some areas, ESB Networks’ crews were working into the night to restore power to as many remaining customers as possible and were set to mobilise again at first light on Thursday.

In a statement ESB Networks said that the severity of the damage caused by Storm Barra, meant access was difficult in many instances with small pockets of customers potentially left without power until Friday at the earliest.

It added that it was moving crews from less impacted areas of the country to assist engineers in the most severely impacted areas to reconnect customers.

People were urged not to approach fallen electricity lines and if they come across them to treat them as live.

Thousands of Irish Water customers were also left without supplies due to heavy rainfall and high winds which caused power outages and deterioration in the quality of raw water sources.

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management held an emergency co-ordination meeting on Wednesday morning. Following the meeting the Department of Housing issued a statement urging vigilance as “the aftermath of a storm is often the most dangerous time as people undertake clean-up and repair”.

Kildare County Council said its crews worked into the early morning to respond to more than 30 callouts throughout the county to remove fallen trees and branches blocking roads and footpaths. It said work was ongoing to remove a tree blocked a road in Donadea.

Closures

Bus Éireann announced a number of disruptions to its routes, largely the cancellation of school transport services in the counties that are affected by the school closures.

Irish Rail and Dublin Bus were operating as scheduled, albeit with delays on some services due to poor weather conditions.

Cork Airport has reopened following the storm but the M8 remains closed in both directions in Fermoy in north Cork as an articulated lorry was blown on its side on Tuesday afternoon by the heavy winds. Traffic diversions are in place.

Flooding

Storm Barra created the perfect conditions for yet more unstoppable flooding in Bantry, according to a business owner in the town whose shop has been flooded four times in the last two years.

“While we did get ample warning from Met Éireann, and the council teams were out placing sandbags, however, when all the conditions align, the wind, the tide, the rain, Bantry is going to flood and that’s that,” Peter Aylmer of The Gift Shop in Bantry said.

Storm Barra battering the promenade at Tramore, Co Waterford. Photograph: Noel Browne
Storm Barra battering the promenade at Tramore, Co Waterford. Photograph: Noel Browne

Even with the flood defences in place, 23 premises in Bantry were partially flooded as Storm Barra, with gale force winds gusting over 130km/h, coincided with high tide.

The storm left a trail of uprooted trees and power outages, as well as flooded homes, businesses and roads along the southwest coast, with the inhabitants of the Mizen, Sheep’s Head and Beara peninsulas bearing the brunt of the storm force-11 winds, seven-metre waves and torrential rain.

 

Northwest

Sligo County Council roads and fire service crews worked throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning clearing trees in every area of the county.

Even after the orange weather warning expired at 8am, conditions remained hazardous in Sligo with many roads closed or partially blocked.

Members of the fire brigade pump away floodwater in Bantry, Co Cork, after Storm Barra hit Ireland with disruptive winds, heavy rain and snow. Photograph: Andy Gibson/PA
Members of the fire brigade pump away floodwater in Bantry, Co Cork, after Storm Barra hit Ireland with disruptive winds, heavy rain and snow. Photograph: Andy Gibson/PA

Road crews were dealing with fallen trees on Tonaphubble Lane, the Gurteen to Ballymote road, the “side road” at Bertie’s Pitch and Putt off the N15, on the N17 at Ballinacarrow, the Riverstown to Drumfin road, from Quarryfield to Bell’s Cross, Bunnanadden, and at Drumbeg West (L5902 to L1902).

Sligo County Council “strongly advised” people to stay away from coastal areas, with a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide causing flooding.

Residents of Ballincar, Springfield and surrounding areas were requested to avoid using the Mardyke Road during high tide from 8am-9am on Wednesday, and to use alternative routes such as Scotsman’s Walk.

Lough Key Forest and Activity Park in Co Roscommon remained closed on Wednesday “for the caution of our staff and customers”.

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