Storm Franklin: Public warned of falling trees as 8,600 remain without power

Gusts of more than 130km/h recorded as third storm in a week batters country

The clean-up in the wake of Storm Franklin was continuing overnight on Monday as ESB crews worked to restore power and local authorities cleared roads of fallen trees and debris.

ESB Networks said about 8,600 customers remained without power by tea time on Monday down from 29,000 in the morning, and it was working to ensure the majority of homes would be reconnected on Monday night. However, a spokesman for the utility said there would be “pockets” particularly in the west and north west that had been worst hit by the storm, which would remain without power until Tuesday morning.

Met Éireann said Storm Franklin had produced wind speeds of more than 130km/h in Co Galway and Co Donegal, with strong to near gale force northwesterly winds and severe gusts .

While the status-orange and status-yellow wind warnings expired in most parts of the country by Monday morning, marine warnings remain in place for Tuesday with a small craft warning for all coasts, and a status-yellow gale warning for coasts from Slyne Head to Rossan Point to Fair Head in place until 8am Wednesday with gale force eight winds forecast.

While winds have eased across most regions since the weekend, the risk of falling trees and branches remains, with roots weakened by the succession of storms which battered the country since last week.

Headstones and graves in one of the oldest sections of Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery were damaged by a large fallen tree on Monday. The Dublin Cemeteries Trust said it was currently assessing the level of damage. “A tree surgeon has assessed trees in the surrounding area to ensure their stability and will shortly begin the process of carefully removing the fallen tree.”

Some roads in Donegal were still blocked with fallen trees on Monday, with motorists urged to exercise extreme caution as the county council worked to remove debris.

Storm Franklin is the third named storm Ireland has seen in a week, after storms Eunice and Dudley.

Its high winds have caused structural damage to a 15ft cross which was placed on top of a church on the northside of Cork city in the early 1960s.

The cross is tilting on the roof of the Church of the Ascension in Gurranabraher following damage from the storm. The church had to close, arising out of concerns for public safety.

Parish priest Fr Tomás Walsh told the Opinion Line on Cork’s 96fm on Monday he received a call at about 4.30pm on Sunday and he was informed the cross was tilting. He immediately alerted the emergency services.

Cork City Fire Brigade attended the scene and secured the area.

Fr Walsh said the church was established in 1955 and the cross was placed on it seven years later. “It was well anchored and withstood many a worse storm,” he said.

He hopes the church will be safe for reopening in the coming days. “The church is out of use for now, until it is declared safe by an engineer, which we are currently looking for. I would hope that the church would be open in a day or two.”

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has forecast a wet start in the east on Tuesday, with the chance of sleet on high ground in the northwest. Blustery, strong and gusty west to northwest winds are expected and temperatures will drop to 5 to 9 degrees.

The weather will remain “unsettled with windy and wet conditions at times” throughout the week.

From Wednesday night, it will turn “much colder” with sleet and snow in places as well as the chance of some isolated thunderstorms and some hail with lowest temperatures of -2 to +1 degrees.

Some frost and icy stretches are forecast to develop in mostly moderate southwest winds.

– Additional reporting PA