Tens of thousands without power in the south west

Hurricane force winds bring down power lines

Video of two unoccupied cars crushed by fallen tree on Popes Quay, Cork city during today's storm. Video: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision


Residents of Cork and the south west are facing howling winds and driving rain today after Met Eireann’s red alert for the region proved well founded.

Gardai are reporting a dozens of fallen trees around the county.

In north Cork, a number of trees fell on the main Cork-Mallow Road near Rathduff while the main Cork-Killarney Road was partially blocked for a period when a tree fell between Macroom and Ballincollig near the turn-off for Aherla.

In east Cork, a fallen tree on the Fota Road caused traffic delays on the main Cork to Cobh Road before council staff were able to clear it while there were also reports of damage to a house in the Midleton area where a roof was whipped off.

In west Cork, gardai in Bandon had numerous reports of fallen trees including on the Kinsale to Dunderrow Road while gardai in Bantry reported a tree down at Toormore which was blocking the Schull to Goleen Road.

According to Met Eireann at Cork Airport, provisional figures just before lunch showed an average wind speed of 79kph gusting just before 12.30pm to almost 115kph while some 19mms of rain had fallen in the region since 3am.

However, the winds were westerly and did not cause any major problem in Cork city this morning. The next high tide scheduled for 4.08pm, officials are confident that there won’t be any repeat of last week’s flooding in low lying areas of the city.

However the ESB were reporting major outages of power with up to 60,000 homes left without power approaching 1pm with West Cork particularly badly hit by the hurricane force winds which battered the region all morning.

According to Cork Area Manager, Jim Hernan, the problems were caused mainly by trees being knocked by the wind but in coastal areas of West Cork with little tree cover, the winds actually knocked and felled ESB poles and other infrastructure.

According to Mr Hernan, Castletownbere, Bantry, Dunmanway, Skibbereen and Macroom were particularly badly hit with substantial numbers of customers in these areas being left without power while there was also substantial damage moving into south Kerry.

Mr Hernan said that the Met Eireann tracking of the storm suggested that wind speeds could peak between 2pm and 3pm with North Cork expected to take the brunt of the storm as it moves inland.

Although there were numerous pockets of power outages in East Cork and the city, both regions had generally escaped compared to west Cork which had shipped the worst of the damage to date, he said.

Mr Hernan explained that conditions continued to dangerous so crews were simply focussing on making fallen lines safe and would postpone actually repair work until it was safe to do so and it some cases this might mean deferring the work until the storm subsides tomorrow.

And he urged anyone who came across a fallen power line not to approach it and if they haven’t been in contact with the ESB to do so immediatley by reporting the fallen wire or broken pole on 1850 372 999.

The main Cork-Dublin motorway has been closed northbound and southbound after a truck overturned on the Fermoy flyover when it was caught by high speed winds at around 12.30pm.

Gardai are at scene and closed off the N8 between Junction 15 at Corrin and Junction 14 at Moorepark and the motorway will remain closed until the truck is removed and diversions are in place.

The truck was travelling northbound at the time when it was caught by the strong winds but gardai decided to close both carriageways because of the dangers to motorists in the flyover bridge over the River Blackwater. The driver of the truck was uninjured.

Meanwhile a number of trees have also been blown down in the Fermoy area resulting in the closure of the old Fermoy to Rathcormac Road and the Fermoy to Castlelyons Road while the Fermoy to Mallow Road remains passable despite some trees being blown down.