Republic of Ireland news

Storm Eunice: Man killed in Wexford as flights cancelled at north's airports

There were several collisions on the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry yesterday during heavy snow
Dominic McGrath, PA

Tens of thousands of homes in the Republic are without power as Storm Eunice continues to rage.

More than 55,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power on the island this morning, as the storm tracked eastwards across the Republic.

Flights and ferries were cancelled in Northern Ireland due to Storm Eunice.

The north escaped the worst of the extreme weather conditions which saw a man killed by a falling tree in the Republic and hundreds of flights cancelled in Britain.

However, high winds, snow and ice caused travel chaos in some parts of the region, with a number of collisions on the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry.

Mobile phone footage posted online revealed that some motorists were forced off the busy main road during the worst of the storm.

Police later confirmed that several accidents had taken place, although they are not thought to have been serious.

A spokesman said: "Police attended the scene of several road traffic collisions on the Glenshane Road due to the adverse weather conditions.

"No one required hospital treatment."

Despite heavy snow fall the road remained open and was passable with care.

Footage appeared to show several collided vehicles while some motorists can be seen pulled in at the roadside.

Earlier today, the conditions saw some flights and ferries to Britain cancelled as well as the ferry service between Strangford and Portaferry, Co Down, before it resumed in the afternoon.

In the Republic, around 80,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power as the storm felled trees and blocked roads.

Counties Cork, Kerry and the south of the country bore the brunt as high winds of more than 100km per hour wreaked havoc.

In Britain, London’s O2 arena was closed after parts of its roof were ripped off in high winds.

There were also hundreds of flights cancelled, rail lines blocked and road bridges closed.

A rare “do not travel” alert was issued across Britain’s railways, as seven operators suspended all services.

More than 430 flights due to take off or land at UK airports were cancelled today.

In Northern Ireland, a yellow wind and snow warning has been issued by the Met Office for 3am to 6pm today.

“Storm Eunice may cause disruption due to heavy snow and some strong winds on Friday,” said the forecaster.

Travel disruption has been occurring in the north with flights from City of Derry Airport to Stansted and Edinburgh cancelled and overnight snowfall in the north west. 

Belfast City Airport has cancelled flights to and from Scotland and England while a flight that was due to arrive from Leeds at Belfast International Airport at 715pm has also been cancelled.

 

Counties Cork, Kerry have borne the brunt of the major storm so far, which brought high winds and snow to parts of the island.

Met Éireann has said that gusts of over 130km per hour had been recorded in Cork.

This morning, fallen trees and blocked roads were causing considerable disruption in Cork, Kerry and several other counties.

ESB estimates that further disruption to power supplies can be expected in the hours to come.

Schools and colleges across the Republic will also remain closed today, following advice from the Department of Education.

In nine counties, schools will be shut after Met Éireann issued a red wind warning for Cork, Kerry, Clare and Waterford.

An orange snow warning has also been issued for several counties in the north and west, including Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon.

While the storm is expected to be powerful but relatively short, officials have warned people to expect fallen trees, power outages and potential flooding.

Brian Tapley, from ESB, said this morning: “We will know the extent of the damage to our network probably by midday, because the storm is passing so quickly.”

He told RTÉ radio that ESB workers would aim to “restore everyone as quickly as possible and safely as possible”.

Some snow has already been reported to have fallen in parts of the Donegal and the north-west, with more sleet and snow possible later today.

Across the south of the island, there have been numerous reports of fallen trees and blocked roads after high winds hit the region.

Liz Coleman, from Met Éireann, said the storm will track eastwards across Ireland over the course of the morning.

“The very strong winds will be over by midday today,” she told RTÉ radio.

“We will then be in a strong westerly airflow with some blustery, scattered showers.”

Gardaí have urged the public to heed warnings for their local areas.

Those living in the worst-affected areas have been advised to stay indoors for the duration of the storm and to remain cautious even when the worst conditions have abated.

Bus Éireann services will not operate during the red warning, with some services already cancelled.

Irish Rail said that services on all routes are operating as normal, with reduced speed in some locations.

The HSE said it hopes to experience little or no disruption to services today.

Anne O’Connor, chief operations officer for the HSE, said that patients should hopefully only experience a “brief disruption” to planned appointments and services.

The Republic's National Emergency Co-ordination Group met yesterday to finalise planning, with chairman Keith Leonard predicting a “high-impact, multi-hazard weather event”.

This morning, he urged people to take precautions as the storm continues to track across the country.

“There’s a significant number of trees now down, blocking roads in Cork, Kerry and Clare. On the positive side, the high tide passed off along the south coast,” he said.

Tommy Ryan, from the County and City Management Association, said on Thursday night that crews are on stand-by, as well as Civil Defence if necessary.

“Each local authority is scaling the response at an appropriate level depending on the level of warning, whether it is red, orange or yellow,” he said.

“The local government sector is prepared and ready to respond.”

The Met Éireann red storm warning for Kerry, Cork and Clare ended at 8am, but a Status Orange alert remains in place.

The alert for Waterford began at 7am on Friday and will stay in place until 11am.

The orange wind warning for the Munster region and Counties Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Wexford, Wicklow and Galway, will last until 11am.

An orange snow warning for Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon, remains in place until 3pm.

A yellow wind and rain warning covers the rest of the country until 6pm, with a snow and ice warning in place until 10am on Saturday.

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