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Storm Barra brings severe winds as 59,000 homes and businesses without power


Storm Barra continued across Ireland on Wednesday morning in the second day of the extreme weather event, with the worst of the weather due to be experienced in the north and northwest of the country.

The storm brought severe winds throughout the night, with weather warnings in place for every county. By Wednesday morning, several warnings remained in place.

An orange warning was in place from 1am until 7am in Dublin on Wednesday, with an orange wind warning also in place in Sligo and Leitrim until 8am. An orange wind warning remains in place for Donegal until 2pm.

Met Éireann said northwesterly winds will reach mean speeds of between 65 and 80km/h with severe or damaging gusts of between 100 and 130km/h, with localised stronger winds likely.

“Due to a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide, coastal flooding is expected. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” the forecaster said.

A yellow weather warning is in place for the entire country until 6pm on Wednesday.

Gusts of up to 110km/h are possible and heavy rain will bring the risk of surface flooding, with coastal flooding also expected.

The forecaster said rain will mainly affect the northern half of the country, which will possibly turn to sleet and snow for a time.

Temperatures will be between four and seven degrees.

Power outages

The weather event is having an impact on utility services. As of 6.45am on Wednesday, about 59,000 electricity customers were without power across the country, particularly along the western and northwestern seaboard.

West Limerick had some of the largest faults, an ESB spokesman said. Crews are currently mobilising in the affected areas to begin the network repair.

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

Irish Water issued five “boil water” notices on Tuesday night, affecting more than 76,000 people.

Water supplies across the country were affected, with a particularly high number in Cork, Kerry, Donegal, Wexford and Waterford, due to the heavy rainfall and high winds, which is causing flooding and power outages at water plants.

Closures

Schools and educational institutions in counties that were under red or orange weather warnings remained closed on Wednesday, following advice from the Department of Education.

Schools in Dublin, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo and Wexford were affected by the advice.

The principal of a primary school in west Dublin has said he is concerned that some parents will not be aware that schools in Dublin will not open today because of the orange-status weather warning.

Enda McGorman of Mary Mother of Hope national school told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that he understood the decision for schools to remain closed had been taken for health and safety reasons, but it had come late last night, as the change in storm status for Dublin had caught them off guard.

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.

Cork County Council and ESB employees help to clear the road and restore power in Timoleague, west Cork. Photograph: Andy Gibson/PA
Cork County Council and ESB employees help to clear the road and restore power in Timoleague, west Cork. Photograph: Andy Gibson/PA

Route 423 at 7am from Clifden to Westport s has been cancelled, as was the route 458 Sligo to Enniskillen service at 5.30am.

Irish Rail said it is operating as normal on Wednesday, except Parkway station where services are suspended due to a fallen tree on the line.

There are also reduced speeds between Cork and Mallow and Cork and Tralee, with the transport service reporting an 11-minute delay on some services due to weather conditions.

Dublin Bus said it is operating as usual.

Road conditions

As gale force force winds pounded the northwest overnight, motorists were advised on Wednesday morning to exercise extreme caution due to the dangers caused by fallen trees and branches.

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.

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, Bunnannadden, 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.

More than 1,700 customers in the Ballymote area who have been left without power have been told to expect electricity to be restored by 6.30pm.

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



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