#Ophelia latest: 330,000 without power; reconnection may take up to 10 days for some; 3 people killed

Ophelia - main news

  • Three killed due to storm effects in Louth, Tipperary and Waterford;
  • 330,000 households without power - southern half of the country is worst affected. Updates on esbpowercheck.ie;
  • It may take up to 10 days to reconnect all households; 5% - 10% of homes may be without power for 10 days;
  • Gusts have hit over 190 km/hr;
  • The Department of Education has told all primary and secondary schools to stay closed tomorrow;
  • Public transport services have been cancelled until tomorrow morning (5am);
  • Luas Red and Green Line services will NOT operate tomorrow morning, due to storm damage. Updates midday tomorrow;
  • While the storm is not as severe as earlier, gusts remain a danger; Storm winds are expected to have cleared the coast by midnight, but the red wind warning stays in place until 1am tonight;
  • The storm is now affecting the northwest of the country.
  • Tomorrow's weather will be calm and very pleasant, with widespread dry weather and sunny spells.

A tree is cut having fallen near Belvelly Bridge on the road to Cobh, Co Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane

TOMORROW'S FORECAST:

(From MetEireann.ie)

Tuesday will be cool and bright with good sunny spells. Dry across most of Ireland, apart from a few showers, most of which will affect the northwest. Feeling fresh with maximum temperatures 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, in mostly light to moderate westerly breezes, breezy though along northern coasts. Cold after dark under clear skies.

EARLIER:

Help from the North, the UK and France is expected to be drafted in on Wednesday to help restore power, the ESB said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said additional funding will be made available to assist in the clean-up, and work is under way to assess the damage.

"As is always the case in national emergencies like this, full resources and additional funding will be available," he said.

Two Donegal locals take a selfie at Banba's Crown, Malin Head. Co.Donegal. Picture: PA

Locals on Ireland's most northerly point have braved Storm Ophelia for a first-hand view of its impact on the Atlantic.

As the ex-hurricane swept north, huge waves crashed into clifftops and blew the roof off a caravan at Malin Head.

Local man Kevin Farren said: "I was sitting in my house looking out the window when I saw the roof of one of the caravans near us blow clean off. It just got lifted by the storm and blew along.

"There are boats all along the pier here which the fishermen haven't taken in. I'm not sure they'll still be there when they come back tomorrow."

He added: "The wind is always rough here, it's certainly not the worst we've ever seen. Unless things get much worse overnight it won't have been too bad."

Malin Head previously held the record for the highest wind speed recorded on the island of Ireland at 113mph in 1961.

It is thought that record has now transferred to Cork following Ophelia.

Meteorologists with Met Eireann measured winds of 34 knots, or 40mph, at Malin Head as the storm swept over.

Another local, who declined to be named, said he lived nearby but had driven up to the clifftop at Bamba Crown out of curiosity to see the storm as it passed.

"It's the first time we've ever had a red weather warning round these parts, so I came up to see what it would be like," he said.

"It's not that different to what we'd be used to the rest of the time because we have strong winds round here all the time as it's so exposed. I think we'll be safe enough."

Many businesses in the surrounding area, including shops and cafes, were closed as a precautionary measure following warnings from authorities that people should not make unnecessary journeys.

Meanwhile in Dublin, as strong winds swept in, roads were quiet, clear of the usual weekday traffic, as many shops and businesses remained shut.

It was anticipated one of the runways at Dublin Airport may become inoperable on Tuesday night due to a change in wind direction, leading to possible diversions.

Meanwhile, volunteer lifeboat crew have rescued three men on a yacht off the coast of Rosslare after they got into trouble in the storm.

The men had been trying to get to safety in a harbour but were constantly pushed back by wind and tides.

They issued a mayday 10 miles offshore and were rescued by Rosslare Harbour lifeboat.

Update 7.45pm:Gale force 11 winds with gusts in excess of 100 km/hr are predicted for the greater Dublin region until 8pm, with strong winds persisting until approximately 10pm.

There are buses in the Dublin area at the moment picking up homeless people and bringing them indoors to safety. Members of the public are being asked to report any homeless case or individual that they have concerns about to their local authority, and the cases will be followed up.

In the Dublin Region, members of the public can log and report cases of concern on homelessdublin.ie

Emergency services, Government departments, local authority representatives and Met Eireann have been meeting throughout the day to discuss the developing situation, and (now) its aftermath.

Fallen trees on overhead lines are responsible for most of the damage to the ESB network, with about 360,000 without power.

Latest 7.30pm: Luas services will not operate tomorrow morning.

Transdev, which operates the trams, say all Red and Green Line services will be postponed until further notice.

A technical room at the Luas Dept in Clondalkin was damaged because of Hurricane Ophelia.

Luas will update passengers about services after a meeting at midday tomorrow.

Latest 6pm: The eye of the storm is now north of Mayo. The storm appears to have peaked about 3pm, as forecast.

Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann says the northern half of the country will be worst affected for the next few hours. The worst of the weather has finished in the south, but high winds are continuing there.

Derek Hynes from the ESB said 360,000 customers are without power now, but warned that figure could rise to 500,000.

"We're in unprecedented territory," he said, adding the effort to reconnect all customers may take up to 10 days.

"Storm Darwin in February 2014 resulted in a loss of supply to 280,000 customers. The restoration effort during storm Darwin took up to eight days across the country to restore supply to everybody."

All public transport networks are offline until tomorrow morning, and schools will remain closed tomorrow. Third-levels colleges may open; students are advised to remain in contact with their colleges for updates.

Trees down on Cork's Centre Park Road.

Meanwhile, it is feared a religious statue which was hit by a tree in Dublin and came loose from its base during Storm Ophelia, has been stolen.

The Mother and Child statue in Finglas Village was seen being put into a vehicle this afternoon by a number of men, who Dublin City Council says don't work for it.

Gardaí have deployed a number of vehicles to search for both the statue and the vehicle - but have had no luck in locating either.

Earlier:

Three people in three counties have been confirmed dead in incidents related to Storm Ophelia.

Gardaí said that a man died in Ravensdale, Dundalk after a car he was in was struck by a tree at around 2.45pm.

In Cahir, Co Tipperary, Michael Pyke who was in his 30s, was killed in a chainsaw accident when he was trying to clear a tree downed by the violent winds.

Earlier, Clare O'Neill, who was in her 50s, died when a tree fell on to her car in severe winds. Shewas travelling outside Aglish village in Co Waterford when she was killed.

Her mother, who was in her 70s, was also injured and taken to Waterford Regional Hospital for treatment. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Meanwhile, a male driver in his 60s has been injured after his car struck a fallen tree in Co Kildare - on the Portlaoise Road near Monasterevin at 12.30pm. The man received minor injuries.

Dublin and Galway are set to be worst affected by Storm Ophelia for the next couple of hours as it tracks north.

After that, the northern half of the country will bear the brunt of the ex-hurricane, as the south recovers.

Bus and train services across the country have now been suspended until tomorrow.

Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann, Irish Rail and the Luas have all cancelled their services until the morning.

Hundreds of flights have also been cancelled and the advice is to check with your airline before your travel.

Eir says over 11,000 of its customers, are without broadband, telephone and mobile services due to Ophelia.

The company says 90 of its mobile masts are out of action due to the storm.

Gardai have urged all road users to remain indoors and not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Traffic lights are out at the Dunkettle Interchange in Cork.

Officials have confirmed the lights are unlikely to be back in action before tomorrow's rush hour.

Scroll down for warnings from county councils around the country.

Update: A flooding alert has been issued for parts of Limerick city as a result of Storm Ophelia, writes David Raleigh

Exceptional water surges, driven by offshore winds in the Shannon Estuary and low atmospheric pressure will result in a higher than predicted high tide this evening.

Clancy Strand is closed to traffic as a precaution, and Limerick City and County Council engineers are monitoring the situation very closely.

Limerick City and County Council is taking all reasonable precautions in relation to deploying barriers and the public are advised to stay away from the city quays, Clancy and O’Callaghan Strands along with other rivers and open water in the city and along the estuary.

Part of the walkway along Clancy Strand is already submerged.

Overall flood defences are working.

Storm Ophelia is continuing to track northeastwards bringing further violent and destructive winds for a time, with gusts of 120 and 150 km/h.

There remains a danger to life and property.

The RED weather alert remains in place until 1am Tuesday, October 17.

The latest updates in relation to roads blocked by fallen trees can be found here.

Staff in Limerick City and County Council Customer Services department will continue to deal with your calls after 5pm.

Crews will begin the massive cleanup operation at first light tomorrow morning.

Some Useful Numbers

  • Dial 999/112 for emergency services only if needed
  • Limerick City and County Council 061 556000 Out of Hours 061 417833
  • ESB Networks 1850 372 999
  • Gas Networks Ireland 1850 205 050

Earlier: The Minister for Education has confirmed that all schools will remain closed tomorrow.

In a statement from the Department of Education, they have confirmed that schools will remain closed in the interest of child safety.

"Following careful consideration by the National Emergency Coordination Group, the Department of Education and Skills, has decided that all schools will remain closed tomorrow.

"This decision was primarily taken in the interests of child safety and on the basis of information available in what is a developing situation.

"While it is recognised that some schools may not be as badly impacted as others, the information available at this time indicates that over 350,000 businesses and homes are already without power, and severe winds continue to cause damage across the country as the storm progresses."

The University of Limerick will be open as usual tomorrow Tuesday October 17.

The campus has sustained no structural or flooding damage during Storm Ophelia and any damaged trees have already been cleared.

Any students who may need to travel to UL tomorrow are advised to be cautious and heed all Council advice in relation to blocked routes.

Gusts of over 96mph (156kph) have already battered the south west coast of Ireland. In Cork, the roof of Cork City's football stadium was blown off.

Earlier: Whole country to be hit by "violent and destructive" winds

A Red Weather Alert has been issued for the whole country as "violent and destructive" winds are expected in every county.

People are urged to keep in mind their personal safety which is of utmost importance as ex-Hurricane Ophelia approaches.

People are urged to stay indoors and not to make unnecessary journeys.

Met Eireann have said that winds will reach their maximum strengths from the following times in the following areas.

        The public are advised to remain indoors from these times.

    • From 07:00: coastal areas of Counties Cork and Kerry
    • From 09:00: Remaining parts of Munster
    • From 12:00: South Leinster and Galway
    • From 13:00 Dublin and remaining Leinster
    • From 15:00 North Connacht and Ulster

Ophelia is the most powerful Atlantic storm this far east on record packing "violent, destructive" gusts of over 130 kilometres per hour.

Heavy rain, storm surges and flooding are likely in coastal areas - and the entire country has been placed on the highest state of alert.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged people to stay indoors today.

He said: "Public safety is our key concern today. Advice is to stay at home, no unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities."

The National Emergency Coordination Group has advised people to stay at home, and no unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities should be undertaken.

They said that all schools, colleges and childcare facilities will be closed.

They have also advised people to secure any garden furniture, bins and other outdoor equipment before the storm hits.

The decision was taken following a special meeting of the government task force on emergency planning.

Drivers of high sided vehicles are being advised to avoid travel during the height of the winds tomorrow due to the extreme danger posed by gale force winds.

Irish Defence Forces are on standby to deploy resources, including transport and engineering assets.

Public safety advice

Members of the public are advised to remain indoors for the duration of the storm – and to avoid all unnecessary travel while the storm is passing.

“Very strong winds” are expected to make driving conditions hazardous, especially for vulnerable road users - including cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Power outages are likely to occur in certain parts of the country.

The public is urged to stay away from fallen cables that may have broken due to the high winds.

People are asked to check in with isolated or vulnerable neighbours ahead of the storm’s arrival – and again once the worst of the weather has passed.


 

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