Power outages hit 8,000 homes

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

Some 8,000 households are without electricity as winds of up to 110km/h are set to continue today.

An ESB spokesman said most of the remaining power outages are in the south west of the country with Killarney and Bandon affected in particlular.

The ESB hopes to restore power to the estimated 8,000 homes currently experiencing outages within the coming hours but the spokesman said remaining high winds could cause delays.

Power was been restored to Oughterard in Co Galway earlier today where over 2,200 households were experiencing cuts.

Met Éireann has warned winds of up 110km/h will continue today across the country.

“We are in a very windy period and it has been a while since we have had one,” said Gerald Fleming, head of forecasting at Met Éireann last night. “There is a succession of small weather systems and we expect one of them to cross Ireland tonight or tomorrow. We don’t see flooding as a big risk though: it’s more the wind.”

AA Roadwatch has warned motorists to watch for debris after a stormy night, especially on minor roads. There are extremely strong cross winds on the M7 between Borris in Ossory and Portlaoise East, particularly at the toll plaza, it said.

A fallen tree is blocking the Tullow to Castledermot Road in co Carlow and the Scotch Corner and Ardaghy Road in Co Monaghan, it said. There are also very strong cross winds on the N5 between Castlebar and Swinford, AA Roadwatch said.

Eircom said yesterday the stormy conditions had taken a toll on its services, with some 4,500 reports of network faults.

“Both broadband and telephone services are impacted,” it said in a statement, with few areas of the country unaffected. Crews were dispatched last night to reconnect lines.

There have been few serious incidents other than the collapse of a wall at a DIY centre in Longford on Tuesday that resulted in the deaths of two men. An investigation is continuing into the incident, which may have been caused by a freak gust of wind.

In Co Clare, the Cliffs of Moher visiting centre was closed to tourists due to conditions that saw cars damaged by airborne debris and pedestrians swept off their feet.

A vehicle carrying staff members from the centre was lifted off the ground, according to management, in what were the worst conditions seen at the attraction in almost a decade.

The centre and cliffs have been closed only four times in the past six years. A decision was due early today about whether to open the facility today. A flag system is in place to warn visitors of wind conditions.“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it, said centre director Katherine Webster.

“We had a number of people swept off their feet but fortunately they suffered only minor injuries. We have seen a lot of damage particularly to cars with lumps of rock the size of your hand being blown around the place.”

Fire services reported little activity around the country, with only a couple of incidents of downed trees requiring a response. The storms are expected to continue until the weekend, when they should be significantly reduced.

Meanwhile, Met Éireann has launched an online warning system that relies on a series of colour-coded alarms designed to make forecasting more accessible to the public.

Based on the model employed by the European-wide Meteoalarm service, the yellow, orange and red tags are applied to indicate the severity of oncoming conditions – temperatures, rainfall or, in last nights case, wind.

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