Storm Eunice: Almost 1,000 properties set for second night without power

Tributes paid to Wexford council worker Billy Kinsella (59) killed clearing debris

Almost 1,000 homes and businesses in Co Kerry, Co Cork and Co Wexford could face a second night without electricity in the aftermath of Storm Eunice.

The ESB said about 2,500 customers were still without power by 6pm on Saturday after repair crews restored electricity to more than 80,000 homes and businesses.

However, a spokesman said “some pockets” of the country will be left without power for a second night, despite crews’ best efforts. It is expected just under 1,000 homes and businessess will not have their power restored until lunchtime on Sunday.

The spokesman urged people to keep an eye on powercheck.ie for updates on the status of power outages in their area and said crew would be back working from “first light” to restore power to those still affected.

“Due to the severity of the damage to the electricity network in the Southwest region, some customers in South Kerry and West Cork will again be without power overnight and we apologise for the particular difficulty this causes.”

Tributes have been paid to Wexford County Council employee Billy Kinsella (59), who was killed on Friday while clearing fallen debris caused by the strong winds.

Mr Kinsella died in Ballythomas when a gust of wind toppled a tree near to one he had been working to remove.

In a statement, Wexford County Council said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family, work colleagues and friends at this very difficult time.”

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Pip Breen said the county had been hit by unusual and severe northerly winds which had felled numerous trees. “When something like this happens, it puts everything into perspective,” he said.

“A man out helping his community and he gets killed in the line of work. It’s after coming as a ferocious shock to the council.”

The storm has claimed the lives of at least eight other people across Europe since it struck the west coast of Ireland in the early hours of Friday.

Three people were killed across Britain where the storm brought record winds of up to 196km/h and caused widespread destruction. Another five deaths were recorded during the storm in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, customers scheduled to travel by ferry to the UK, France and Spain from Rosslare and Dublin Port continued to face cancellations and delays on Saturday because of the bad weather. A number of Stena Line customers took to Twitter seeking advice after discovering their Saturday evening and Sunday sailings had been cancelled.

A total of 43 flights in and out of Dublin Airport were cancelled on Friday. However, flights appeared to have returned to normal by Saturday, with all evening departures leaving on time and just one cancellation on a flight arriving from Ausria.

An Garda Síochána urged drivers in the northern half of the State to take extra care on Saturday as snow and ice were resulting in hazardous driving conditions. "Following recent sleet and snow showers, roads in parts of Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth are particularly affected," tweeted an Garda. "Please exercise extreme caution, slow down and stay safe."

Cancellations

Two League of Ireland fixtures – in Longford and Sligo – were postponed on Saturday due to the poor weather conditions, according to the FAI.

On Friday, the Government's crisis management team, the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group, said Storm Eunice had brought some "very strong onshore winds". There were mean wind speeds of 106km/h with the highest gusts recorded at Roches Point weather station in Co Cork reaching 137km/h. A wind speed of 172km/h was logged offshore just after 7am at the Fastnet lighthouse off the west Cork coast, according to Met Éireann.

Many trees came down during the storm, the emergency co-ordination group said, blocking some national and regional roads. Damage from the storm in the State was most extensive in west Cork and Kerry, with some of the worst affected areas including Kilgarvan, Cahersiveen, Milltown, Bandon, Bantry, Ballydehob and Dunmanway.

At about 8.15am on Friday a large tree fell on a family home in Cobh, Co Cork, with branches smashing through downstairs windows and jutting into the upstairs landing through the roof, attic and ceiling. Electrical and telephone wires lay severed and loose on the ground from the impact.

‘Next thing: Bang!’

The owners Jacqui and Kevin O’Regan, were getting ready to go to their home offices, both at the front of the house, when the tree came crashing in.

“I was just finished saying ‘actually it isn’t too bad this morning’, and we thought the storm should be easing off, and next thing: Bang!” said Mrs O’Regan.

“I have to say I got an awful fright, I was definitely in a state of shock. I was standing there for ages trying to figure out what I was feeling. Do you know what it was? It’s that you realise how vulnerable you are to the elements. You think that because you’re in a house, you’re safe,” she told The Irish Examiner.

There were also multiple crashes on the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry – the main Derry to Belfast road – due to snow and ice, though nobody was injured.

Met Éireann has also issued a status yellow rain warning for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo until 4pm on Sunday.

Milder conditions, scattered showers and bright spells will follow from the southwest and strong westerly winds will develop. The rain will return from the west on Saturday evening with widespread outbreaks during the night and a possibility of localised flooding in the west and the north. It will also be very windy on Saturday night, especially on Atlantic coasts.

The wet and windy weather will continue on Sunday with possible hail in the afternoon. Temperatures will be mild on Sunday morning but will turn much colder once the rain clears.

A status yellow wind warning will also be in place for Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Donegal and Connacht from 9am on Sunday until 9am on Monday. A status orange wind warning will be in place from 1am until 7am on Monday.