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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 23 November, 2017
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A STATUS RED weather warning is in place as Ireland prepares for Storm Ophelia.

Met Éireann is warning that the storm is likely to be the most severe weather event to hit the country in over 50 years.

People across the country are being told to avoid travelling unless it is absolutely necessary. You can find the main advice on transport, school closures etc. here.

Three people have lost their lives in the storm.

A woman in her 50s was killed when a tree fell on the car she was driving near Aglish in Waterford this morning.

A man in his early 30s died after being injured by a chainsaw while clearing a fallen tree near Cahir in Tipperary

Another man has died after a tree fell on his car in Ravensdale, Dundalk, County Louth

Here’s a quick recap of what else has been happening today:

Here are some of the main points to remember:

  • Ophelia has reached the south of the country and has spread to south Leinster and Dublin. The immediate storm will not abate over until midnight for the north of the country.
  • The National Hurricane Center in the US has said that counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal will be the worst affected.
  • Roofs have come off a number of properties in Cork and Tipperary.
  • There are trees down across the country with many roads blocked.
  • Schools will be closed again tomorrow, the Department of Education has confirmed.
  • Defence Minister Paul Kehoe said people should remain indoors as it’s “a matter of life and death”.
  • There are over 360,000 people without power in Munster as the storm rips through the province. Some will be without electricity for 10 days.
  • Gardaí have urged all motorists and the public not to make any non-essential journeys. They advise people not to cycle whatsoever.
  • People living in coastal areas are also being warned of the risk posed by flooding from storm surge and the Coast Guard is requesting members of the public to avoid any visits or walks to coastal or cliff areas and waterways.
  • Bus Éireann has cancelled all its services until tomorrow.
  • All schools and colleges across the country are closed.
  • The HSE has cancelled all hospital outpatient appointments which were due to take place today.

If you would like to send us in any pictures or videos of the storm (and make sure it’s safe to do so), send it to news@thejournal.ie.

Stay with us for updates:

Good morning. Storm Ophelia is yet to make landfall – and as the country prepares, Met Éireann is warning that the former hurricane is likely to be the most severe weather event to hit the country in over 50 years.

A red alert wind warning has been issued for the entire country. Separate orange and yellow rainfall warnings have been issued also.

All schoolscolleges and third-level institutions across the country have been told to close and all school bus services have also been cancelled.

In relation to hospitals, the HSE has cancelled all hospital outpatient appointments which were due to take place today. These appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Click here for more info on what’s open, what’s closed and the general transport situation.

Let’s look at the latest road and rail news before we do anything else.

Here’s the latest from Irish Rail:

All DART, Intercity and Commuter services are expected to operate in the morning except on the following routes:

  • Limerick Junction to Waterford
  • Limerick to Ballybrophy via Nenagh

A speed restriction of 80kph (50mph) will be in place on the following routes:

  • Tralee to Mallow
  • Cork to Charleville
  • Cork to Cobh/Midleton
  • Waterford to Kilkenny
  • Rosslare Europort to Gorey

As a result delays of 15 to 30 minutes are expected to services operating on the following routes for morning services:

  • Cork to Dublin
  • Tralee to Cork/Dublin
  • Waterford to Dublin
  • Rosslare Europort to Dublin

Bus Éireann has cancelled all services nationwide from 5am until 2pm. A spokesperson said that the bus company will review the situation in the morning but the disruption could continue for most of the day.

Dublin Bus says morning peak services are expected to run as normal but there will be “significant disruption” to services between 9am and 6pm which may include services not running at all.

Dublin Bus also warned customers that while it hopes to return services to normal after 6pm, there may be further delays and disruptions depending on the weather conditions.

And in traffic news, AA Roadwatch reports that gardaí are warning of excess surface water on the N11 Dublin/Wicklow Rd around Glen of the Downs.

Here’s the latest from Met Éireann this morning (caps theirs):

A STATUS RED WARNING IS IN OPERATION COUNTRYWIDE FOR TODAY.

Today will be stormy with spells of heavy rain and widespread gales. Winds mainly from the southeast during the morning will give some severe and damaging gusts, before veering southwest later. Top temperatures of 15 to 18 degrees. Some violent gusts between 120 and 140 km/h, and storm surges near coasts may give local flooding.

The US National Hurricane Centre has also issued its last forecast for the storm, as it enters Irish waters:

The storm is no longer a hurricane, and is officially classified as ‘Post-Tropical Cyclone Ophelia’.

WIND: Gale-force winds are expected to begin across southern
Ireland during the next few hours and gradually spread northward
across the country during the day on Monday. Hurricane-force winds
are forecast to reach the southern portions of Ireland by Monday
afternoon. Strong winds will then spread across the remainder of
Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom into Monday night.
Preparations to protect lives and property should be complete.

Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains
are often up to 30 percent stronger than the near-surface winds
indicated in this advisory, and in some elevated locations could be
even greater.

RAINFALL: Ophelia is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 2 to
3 inches (50 mm to 75 mm) with isolated totals near 4 inches (100
mm) through Tuesday across western Ireland and Scotland. Across
eastern Ireland, rainfall amounts will average around 1 inch (25 mm)
or less.

STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce
significant coastal flooding near and to the east of where the
center of the post-tropical cyclone makes landfall. Near the coast,
the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Some advice from the gardaí:

And some timely advice from Dublin Fire Brigade (heartwarming picture choice, guys):

We’re already getting reports of high wind and heavy rain in Cork and Kerry.

Have an update from your area? Get in touch (and send us pictures if you have them – but don’t take any risks) at @thejournal_ie  or email pictures@thejournal.ie 

Here’s what the front pages of the newspapers look like this morning:

pic1 Source: Daragh Brophy/TheJournal.ie

Sean Murray here, taking over from Daragh Brophy for the next few hours.

At Dublin Airport, Aer Lingus, British Airways, Air France, CityJet, Emirates and KLM have all cancelled services today. The airlines are contacting passengers directly in relation to affected services.

Ryanair flights are still scheduled to operate as normal. All passengers are urged to contact their airline or check the airline’s website before going to the airport.

Numerous flights have been cancelled from Cork, with more info here.

There’s also bad news if you’re due to travel by ferry this morning.

A number of Irish Ferries services between Dublin and Holyhead are cancelled, including the 8.05 and the 8.45 services from the capital. A number of Stena Line services are also cancelled.

The National Emergency Coordination Group has just sent in an updated statement.

It said it would convene again this morning at 10.30am.

The advice in the statement reiterates earlier guidance to the public, including a recommendation to avoid unnecessary travel.

It also says: “Don’t travel during the height of the storm unless absolutely necessary.”

key safety

Speaking from a sunny Canberra, Australia, President Michael D Higgins has urged “people to follow advice of the government and take precautions” in advance of Ophelia making landfall.

The Peter McVerry Trust has initiated its emergency response protocols across the country.

It says that the measures are put in place to protect rough sleepers and those in homeless services across the country.

It recommends all rough sleepers to access emergency shelter, with transport provided if required. The charity added that it was opening up all communal spaces – such as kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms – at its city centre locations to provide space.

When will Ophelia hit your area?

Met Éireann has provided a breakdown of when the “violent and destructive gusts”, as well as the “heavy rain and storm surges” will arrive in different regions.

Coastal areas of Kerry and Cork are currently being hit by the storm and the rest of Munster will feel its effects from 9am.

South Leinster and Galway will be hit by Ophelia by midday, while it will hit Dublin and the rest of Leinster by 1pm.

North Connacht and Ulster will be affected from around 3pm onwards. The Status Red warning will remain in effect until 1am tonight.

when will it hit you

RTÉ is reporting that the National Hurricane Center in Miami has said that the worst hit areas in Ireland will be Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.

For anyone who uses the Luas services, the Red and Green lines are operating as normal today.

Customers are warned, however, to check in throughout the day to make sure that it still the case.

Met Éireann’s Joanna Donnelly told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that people should consider avoiding taking the risk of going to work today, because the adverse weather conditions could mean people become stranded if transport services cease.

She added that the storm is forecast to reach the coast in the next hour.

Last night, business group Ibec issued an advisory to say that companies should “minimise the movement of employees tomorrow”.

Irish Rail has said that if you bought a ticket for today and decide not to travel, they will refund your ticket.

It also said you could change the time of your train for any other train today for no charge.

If you’ve braved the elements today to go to work, what’s the traffic situation this morning?

While stressing to avoid travelling if it can be avoided, AA Roadwatch says that traffic is moving well in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford at present.

Gardaí are warning, however, of excess surface water on the N11 Dublin/Wicklow Road around the Glen of the Downs.

We have our first fallen tree and it’s in Cork.

The N71 is blocked at Convent Hill on the city side of Clonakilty.

Diversions come via Old Timoleague Road.

Again, if you have any pictures (and we stress only take them if it’s safe) of the storm, please send them into news@thejournal.ie.

“Do not travel unless necessary,” says Theresa Mannion on Morning Ireland, as she described how A&E departments would remain open in the west of the country.

She didn’t say “no unnecessary journeys”, however.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe is on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

He has the message “don’t make unnecessary journeys”.

Kehoe said that all local authorities had put out warnings.

“I would encourage people to stay indoors, including employees,” he said.

I know employers would have policies… This is a matter of life and death. We don’t want to see fatalities.

“I think most employers know the seriousness of what we’re going to face,” he said when pressed on if the government should have declared a national emergency.

The number one priority for the government is the safety of the citizens… To make sure there’s no fatalities over the next 24 hours.

Met Éireann has given estimates on when the strong winds will affect different parts of the country, but people on south coasts are already feeling the strong effects of Ophelia.

Met Éireann just said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that Ophelia has made landfall on the Kerry coast.

Batten down the hatches, everybody.

Outside TheJournal.ie offices, a marquee is being hastily taken down ahead of the storm’s arrival in Dublin.

IMG_4132

Greyhound Household has issued a statement to say that it has postponed all waste collections scheduled for today.

It said that all collections scheduled for today will take place on Saturday.

The company also advised customers to “pull their bins in and place them in a safe place where they are not at risk of being blown away”.

There are 530 people without power in Bishopstown in Cork, due to a fault.

The estimated restore time is currently unknown.

To keep up to date with the areas affected by power outages, click here.

Need to get the travel latest?

Here’s an update from AA Roadwatch.

aa roadwatch Source: AA Roadwatch

Met Éireann back on Morning Ireland.

The strongest winds will be to the south of the low pressure centre.

“Wait until the storm has gone through this evening before you take anything for granted.”

Dunnes Stores announced last night that all its stores would be closed today.

Now, Easons has followed suit “in the interest of safety for our staff and customers”.

The wind warning has been upgraded, with “some violent gusts up to 150km/h” according to Met Éireann.

There is still warning of local flooding as storm surges near coasts.

RTÉ’s Paschal Sheehy is on the Kerry coast. He says he’s felt the strength of the “violent gusts” so far.

We have a number of fallen trees causing traffic disruptions in Cork and Kerry.

As well as the earlier N71 delays, a fallen tree outside Bandon on the Dunmanway Road is causing disruption in Cork.

“Avoid at present” is the advice there.

In Kerry, the following roads have been affected by fallen trees:

  • The Kenmare/Kilgarvan Road (R569), around 6.5km east of Kenmare.
  • Moll’s Gap (R568) near the tunnel.
  • The N22 Killarney/Mallow Road around 2km outside Barraduff on the Killarney side.

Here are some photos as Storm Ophelia hits Kinsale in Cork.

LR OPHELIA CORK 758A6776 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

LR OPHELIA CORK 758A6762 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

LR OPHELIA CORK 758A6761 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Dubray Books is also stayed closed today, with eight branches in Dublin, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Galway remaining shut.

We’ve just got this photo in with the caption “come rain, shine or hurricane, ain’t nothing going to stop the echo man selling newspapers in Cork”.

IMG_20171016_075229 Source: Eoghan Dunne

Ryanair has said that it has cancelled a number of flights to and from Dublin Airport today, after previously saying that flights would run normally.

It includes a number of flights to and from London Stansted and Manchester.

The full list is here (although bear in mind a number of these will already have been cancelled before Storm Ophelia due to the airline’s recent roster troubles).

More power outages are being reported.

There are 754 without power in Ballincollig in Cork, and another 620 in nearby Riverstown.

There are a further 1,626 customers affected in Woodford, near Killarney in Kerry.

There is currently no estimate for when the power will be restored in these areas.

Galway Source: Osheen Forde

These are the dark skies heading towards Galway (which is one of the counties set to be worst hit) this morning.

We’ve just got this update in from Cork County Council, after a 6am meeting of its crisis management team:

“Winds speeds currently at 50km/h and rising steadily. Peak winds expected to occur between 12pm and 3pm with speeds averaging 100km/h and gusting up to 140km/hr. This in effect reflects a doubling or trebling of current speeds.

Intense rainfall expected between 11am and 2pm. Significant tidal surges expected with possible flooding in coastal locations, including Clonakilty and Youghal.

Speaking of Cork, there are more fallen trees causing traffic delays this morning.

The latest are:

  • A tree blocking the Inniscarra Road, between Inniscarra Bridge and Canons Cross.
  • There are reports of a fallen tree at Cuskinny Hill in Cobh. Take care in the area.

And here’s another ominous looking photo of Cork city, with the storm on the way.

IMG_4760 Source: Paul Keating

Irish Rail is now saying that there will be severe disruption on its Intercity services, while Dart and Commuter services remain in operation.

  • The 9.20 Cork-Heuston and 9.00 Heuston-Cork will operate after that no service will operate until further notice.
  • The 9.25 Heuston-Galway are operating after that there will be no services until further notice.
  • 8.55 Limerick-Heuston will operate, after that no services will operate until further notice.
  • Westport-Heuston services are all cancelled with the exception of 09:08 Athlone Westport which will operate.
  • Belfast services are operating at normal
  • Sligo services are operating as normal
  • Rosslare Services are operating as normal
  • A decision will be taken on Cork commuter services at 10am this morning. Right now, they are currently operating.
  • A decision will be taken on Portlaoise commuter services at midday.

Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny has told Morning Ireland that he expected services to resume later on, on the routes affected.

“A decision on eastern routes will be made during the morning,” he said. “We have crews on standby… right now Dart is operating fully.”

Arnotts has issued a statement to say it has “decided to prioritise the safety of its team members and customers ” by closing its doors today.

It says it will reopen tomorrow at 9.30am.

Dublin Bus has said that services will be withdrawn at 10am today.

Dublin Bus issued the following statement just now:

Morning peak services are operating as normal. There will be significant disruption to services from 10.00 to 19.00. Services will be withdrawn at 10.00.

We hope to return services from 19.00 or when we can safely operate our services. However, customers should be aware that services may experience delays and disruptions to service and service levels will be dependent on weather conditions.

There are lots more reports of traffic disruptions in Cork and Kerry due to fallen trees.

Here’s what AA Roadwatch is saying:

road trees Source: AA Roadwatch

More power outages are being reported across Cork this morning.

Nearly 1,000 customers are without power in Douglas now, and 483 without power in Castlelyons.

Waterford is now being hit with power outages too, with 532 customers affected in Lismore.

There is also 937 homes without power in Cappamore in Limerick.

You can keep up to date with all the power outages here.

Just as a reminder, Met Éireann has warned that everyone in Munster should remain indoors from 9am onwards.

Here’s the list of when the storm will hit your area. Take care, everyone.

when will it hit you Source: Met Éireann

It is being reported that a Flybe flight has undergone an emergency landing in Dublin Airport.

Images shared on social media show the plane with emergency vehicles trailing behind on the runway.

The Irish Medical Organisation has said it is worried that people may put themselves at risk by travelling to see a GP today for “something that can be seen more safely in the days ahead”.

Chairman of the GP committee Dr Padraig McGarry said: “We would ask all members of the public to avoid going to their local GP unless they really need to.”

The IMO also said that it expects emergency departments to be “particularly busy” over the coming 24 hours.

One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions will also remain closed today.

In a statement, the Guinness Storehouse said it would not be opening today for “staff and customer safety”.

It said: “Guinness Storehouse will open as normal tomorrow, Tuesday, 17 October and any tickets purchased for today may be redeemed then. We apologise for any inconvenience this safety decision may cause.”

Dublin Airport is saying that around 130 flights have been cancelled due to Ophelia.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation has this advice for people whose flight has been cancelled today.

“In the event that your flight is cancelled then your air carrier must offer you the choice between the following:
- re-routing as soon as possible:
- re-routing at a later date at your convenience: or
- a refund.

Compensation is unlikely to be payable to passengers affected by flight cancellations or long flight delays as a direct result of Hurricane Ophelia as weather conditions incompatible with the safe operation of a flight are regarded as exempt under the passenger rights legislation.

More businesses are saying that they won’t open their doors today.

Ikea will stay closed, as will Camile Thai Kitchen, although the latter said that “weather permitting” it may re-open outlets this evening.

Insurance Ireland, in a statement to Morning Ireland, has said that comprehensive car insurance remains valid if you drive during Storm Ophelia.

Power updates:

  • 969 customers are without power in Cong, Co Galway.
  • 103 are affected in Ennistymon in Clare.
  • A further 117 are without power in Charleville, Limerick.

Here’s the scene in Dingle, with the storm set to hit within the next hour or so.

IMG-20171016-WA0000 Source: Elaine Higgins Brosnan

And, a bright spark amidst the gloom?

This picture was taken in Killarney this morning.

image1 (1) Source: Peter Lait

We have an update on that emergency landing in Dublin Airport, which doesn’t appear to be Ophelia-related.

A Flybe spokesperson told TheJournal.ie: “Flybe confirms that the captain of the above flight took the necessary precautionary action after the crew detected a smell of fumes. The aircraft landed safely as normal in Dublin.

All 75 passengers disembarked without further incident when the aircraft arrived on stand with no reports of any adverse passenger reaction.

Nicola Cook, Bus Éireann spokesperson, told Morning Ireland that its services will remain off the road until at least 2pm today.

“It is likely that widespread disruption could continue for most of the day,” she said.

Spare a thought for the people working outside today, including this man on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

image1 (1) Source: Sandra Berger-O'Brien

More tourist locations are announcing closures for today, with the National Gallery of Ireland just issuing a statement to that effect.

Fallen trees are causing havoc across Munster, both to roads and to power lines.

There are over a dozen reports in of fallen trees in Cork, with more in Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford.

munster trees Source: AA Roadwatch

munster trees 2 Source: AA Roadwatch

An Irish Rail update: Portlaoise Commuter services will terminate after the 11.20 Heuston-Portlaoise service.

The company has made a video to provide customers with all the details of the routes and lines affected.

Some Galway readers have sent in their photos.

It is set to be one of the areas worst affected but severe winds won’t arrive there until the afternoon.

IMG_4521 Scene in Clifden Source: Robert Joyce

IMG_20171016_093950159 Source: Brian McLaughlin

More Irish Rail news: Cork/Cobh and Cork/Midleton services will terminate at 10am until further notice

Need to catch up on the travel situation? Here are some of the main points again:

  • Dublin Bus services are ceasing at 10am this morning until around 7pm this evening.
  • Bus Éireann has cancelled all services nationwide from 5am until 2pm. The company will review the situation later but the disruption could continue for most of the day.
  • All Irish Rail Dart and Commuter services are operating. There is now major disruption to Intercity services however. Check out Irish Rail for the latest.
  • There are flights cancelled at Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and elsewhere. You are advised to contact your airline before going to the airport.

There is a livestream on Youtube of scenes in Kerry around Skellig Michael and Derrynane.

It looks very, very, very windy.

Source: SCC Broadband/YouTube

Homelessness charity Depaul has issued a statement to say it is keeping its four emergency emergency hostels open for the next 24 hours.

“Little Britain Street, Brú Aimsir, Mount Brown and Blessington Street hostels will remain open with a total of 210 beds in what are usually night time only accommodation services,” it said.

CEO Kerry Anthony said that it is “of vital importance that we do not forget to provide for the most vulnerable people in society during this storm”.

More fallen trees causing disruption in Munster.

The Marina in Cork city is closed near Pairc Ui Chaoimh due to a fallen tree. Winters Hill is blocked due to fallen signage, and motorists are urged to use an alternative route.

There are reports of a fallen tree blocking one lane of the Tramore/Dungarvan Road in Waterford, while the promenade in Tramore has been closed until the storm passes.

AA Roadwatch has also said that a lorry has shed its load on the M11 Dublin/Wexford southbound between J20 Arklow and J21 Arklow South. Traffic is down to one lane there.

All Peter Mark salons are closed today – adding to the list including Easons, Ikea and Dunnes Stores.

There were large queues in a number of supermarkets yesterday as people stocked up on food ahead of the storm.

Here were the scenes in Tesco in Dundrum.

Source: Dave/Facebook

The M50 has clarified that it will not be closed today, despite rumours to the contrary.

The Luas will cease to operate at midday today.

In a statement, the service said: “The Luas Red and Green Line services will be curtailed from 10am onwards today. Trams are being brought back to the Luas depots where they will be stored safely.”

It said the decision has been taken because electricity in the overhead power lines must be turned off and cannot be turned on until a visual inspection is undertaken.

Normal service will resume tomorrow, it added.

More power outages are coming in across Munster.

Here are some of the latest:

  • There are 958 people without power in Glengariff in west Cork.
  • There are over 2,000 customers affected in Ballydehob a bit further south.

You can keep updated with the latest areas affected here.

In a statement, Permanent TSB said that the “entire branch network and the group’s head office will remain closed for the day”.

More Irish Rail news:

Spokesperson Barry Kenny has said that no services will operate to and from Heuston for the rest of the day.

The Irish College of General Practitioners has added to calls for the public not to contact their GP unless absolutely necessary.

“General practitioners are mindful of their particularly vulnerable patients, and will determine how best to respond to individual calls for assistance,” it said.

Minister Simon Coveney is on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.

He says it is “uncharted territory” for Ireland.

Speaking from Cork, he said that there was a great deal of coordination between government and essential services to respond to the potential effects of Storm Ophelia.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is set to address the country in the next 10 minutes or so.

“I’m not saying everything is perfect here,” Coveney said when pressed on when announcements began to come forth about services cancelled.

“This is the first time since proper records began that we have a hurricane that has developed and strengthen on the eastern side of the Atlantic. To say it’s unusual is an understatement.”

This video sent in by reader Jen Wycherley shows South Ring across from Inchdooney Island in west Cork being hit by the storm.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Bord Gáis Energy has told TheJournal.ie that it has closed its boiler service and repair activities today as well.

Bernadine Malone, from ESB Networks, tells Sean O’Rourke that around 22,000 customers have been affected by power outages so far.

She urges people not to approach fallen lines as they may be dangerous.

People can report a service interruption by calling 1850 372 999.

“We can’t restore services in the middle of the storm,” she added.

Vodafone stores nationwide will also not open today.

Clare County Council, meanwhile, has established an emergency helpline – 1800 252 943 – to deal with requests from the public in relation to fallen trees, blocked roads, flooding and other non-life threatening incidences.

Anybody with water service queries – across the country – can contact the Irish Water helpline number at 1850 278 278.

Here are some more pictures as Ophelia batters the southern coasts, with these taken in Kinsale.

OPHELIA KINSALE 758A6796_90526673 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

OPHELIA KINSALE  758A6821_90526672 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

There are a lot more places now being affected by power outages, with more coming every few minutes.

The latest sees 850 without power in Foxhole near Youghal in Cork, 2,415 without power in Gurranebane in Kerry, and 269 customers affected in Kilcloher.

The Taoiseach and Shane Ross are speaking live. Follow it here.

Leo Varadkar reiterated the advice for people to stay indoors and urges people not to make unnecessary journeys.

Says public sector workers who stay at home will be paid for today, but can’t speak for private sector.

“This is unprecedented… and we’ve tried to be prepared for it.”

Varadkar says that people are heeding the warnings and taking the situation seriously.

People in Dublin are getting ready for Ophelia to arrive.

This is the scene in Centra in Drumcondra, with queues stretching over ten minutes with people stocking up on supplies.

Image uploaded from iOS (5) Source: Christine Bohan/TheJournal.ie

Ulster Bank are the latest business to announce that all its branches will be closed today.

That’s it from me for the time being. I leave you in the very capable hands of Sinead O’Carroll, who’ll keep you updated as Ophelia makes its way northwards.

Stay safe everybody!

Good morning – and thanks to Sean for the handover. As he said, this is Sinead O’Carroll here for the rest of the afternoon.

Unfortunately, I have bad news as my first update.

Rescue workers were called to help two kitesurfers in difficulty on the east coast.

The Irish Coast Guard has pleaded with people “stay away from exposed beaches, cliffs & piers, harbours & promenades during storm conditions”.

The Irish Coast Guard manager has told RTE that the organisation doesn’t want to have to start “patrols” of the coasts but is urging people not to engage in “hurricane tourism”.

IMG-20171016-WA0004 Slea Head in Dingle right now. Source: Liam Og Higgins

Ahead of the hurricane hitting, many people are stocking up. There were reports of ‘runs’ on stores last night, and supermarkets were extremely busy today.

This was Ballybrack in Dublin, as seen by reader Lorraine O’Hagan at 11am.

Image uploaded from iOS (1) Tesco in Ballybrack, Dublin Source: Lorraine O'Hagan

And TheJournal.ie reporter Orla Ryan took this snap in Lidl on Thomas Street

IMG_20171016_113708 Lidl on Thomas Street, Dublin Source: Orla Ryan

The latest from Met Eireann.

“Ex-Hurricane Ophelia is forecast to track up over western parts of Ireland during daytime today. Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150 km/h are forecast countrywide and in excess of these values in some very exposed hilly and coastal areas.

“The most severe winds [are] over Munster and south Leinster at present [and] will extend quickly to the rest of the country this afternoon. Also heavy rain and storm surges along coasts will result in flooding.

There is a danger to life and property.

“To recap: Most severe conditions over Munster and South Leinster now. Extending quickly to remaining areas this afternoon”

One consequence of the storm that many people might not have thought of yet – but others will be, unfortunately, acutely aware of is the postponement of funeral masses.

TheJournal.ie’s reporter Michelle Hennessy has been talking to funeral directors up and down the country to update mourners.

Here is the situation so far.

O’Connor Brothers, based in Cork, told her that the two services it had planned this morning were both postponed.

“It’s very wild and windy picking up in last while,” a spokesperson said. “A tree has fallen on a car just up the street by the post office. We cancelled all funerals booked today at the request of the families, it was the wisest thing to do.”

Earlier today, we brought you a round up of what is happening to protect homeless people and rough sleepers during Ophelia.

Read that here.

In the past few moments, Minister Eoghan Murphy sent a statement about what arrangements his department put in place over the weekend with Dublin City Council, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, all local authorities and homelessness agencies.

To ensure nobody is without shelter today, the following actions have been taken:

(the following is the statement verbatim)

  • As the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government is the lead government department on emergency planning, Minister Murphy has been in contact with the main political parties to appraise them of actions being taken in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia;
  • The Minister raised the issue of homelessness at the meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Group this morning and updated it on the actions being taken by his Department, the local authorities and partner organisations to ensure shelter is available to all those who want it;
  • Housing First Teams and Local Authorities have been working through the night offering shelter to those on the streets and transporting individuals to a range of facilities;
  • All facilities will remain open for the full day during the storm and shelter is being provided to all those who need it;
  • Additional facilities providing shelter and supports to those who need them have opened up across the country today;
  • Local Authorities have been working and co-ordinating services across a range of organisations, including Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, Simon Community, Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland and this will continue as long as it is required.
  • 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 by each local authority area. In the Dublin region, members of the public can log and report cases of concern on the following website.

According to the statement, Minister Murphy emphasised today that the “safety of all citizens is the priority over the coming hours and days”. He said he has told all local authorities that he and his Department are available to provide whatever resources and supports are required during this very difficult time.

Another closure confirmed:

A Lidl spokesperson has told TheJournal.ie that all stores closed at 12pm. Some outlets are still open due to long queues but will be closed as soon as possible.

Some really bad news on the power front – between 120,000 and 130,000 homes and businesses are without electricity.

The ESB has said that some people will be without it for up to 10 days. The majority will definitely not see it return until tomorrow.

The main problem areas are Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Limerick.

Screenshot 2017-10-16 at 12.05.17

RTE is reporting a tree has fallen onto a car in Aglish in west Waterford.

According to reporter Damien Tiernan, two people are stuck in the car and there are concerns their injuries are very serious.

 

Irish Rail has issued a new advisory for its services.

DART, Connolly Commuter and Connolly Intercity services will terminate before 2pm.

The last services to operate until further notice on each route will be as follows:

DART

  • 12:00hrs Greystones Malahide will operate
  • 12:25 Bray Howth will operate
  • 12:32 Malahide to Greystones will operate
  • 13:30 Malahide to Connolly will operate
  • 13.45 Howth to Connolly will operate
  • 14:00hrs Greystones to Bray only will operate

Commuter

  • 12:42 Pearse Maynooth will operate
  • 13:42 Maynooth Connolly will operate
  • 13:30 Pearse Drogheda will operate
  • 12:20 Drogheda Pearse will operate, terminating in Connolly.

Intercity services to/from from Connolly 

  • 12:35 Belfast Connolly will operate
  • 13:20 Connolly Belfast will operate
  • 12:55 Rosslare Connolly will operate
  • 13:36 Connolly Rosslare will operate
  • 13:00 Sligo Connolly will operate
  • 13:05 Connolly Sligo will operate

No later services will operate to/from Connolly until further notice. 

Heuston Intercity (Dublin to/from Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway and Westport) and Heuston Commuter services are suspended until further notice.

Cork Commuter services are suspended until further notice.

Regional routes (Limerick Junction to Waterford, Limerick to Ballybrophy, Limerick to Galway) suspended until further notice.

Line maintenance teams will be monitoring the network throughout the weather warnings associated to address any impacts from Hurricane Ophelia, and will take all measures necessary throughout the day to ensure the safety of rail services, including:

  • Removing trees or other debris from lines
  • Managing the safe operation of level crossings

Any changes to service arrangements will be updated on its website and on Twitter @irishrail

Met Eireann is keeping an eye on Ophelia and keeping us updated through its Twitter account…

RTE is reporting that Waterford County Council has confirmed one fatality in the incident at Aglish.

It is understood that a tree or large branch from a tree fell onto a car.

Two people were reported injured and it is believed the female occupant of the car has died.

Juris Akerbergs sent us this photo of debris coming from the roof of a Lidl in Clonmel in Tipperary.

lidl Source: Juris Akerbergs

Speaking of shops, here is an exhaustive list of what chains have shut all their stores today:

  • Debenhams
  • Dunnes Stores
  • Penneys
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Supervalu MOPI
  • Heatons
  • Arnotts
  • Brown Thomas
  • Supervalu Pettitts
  • Argos
  • Shaws
  • Garveys (Kerry)
  • Easons
  • PTSB
  • Caulfields Supervalu

See more here….

A woman in her 20s has lost her life in Waterford.

This is what gardai can confirm about the tragedy in Aglish: 

“Gardaí are at scene of a fatal road traffic collision that occurred outside Aglish village on the R671 this morning at 11.40am.

“A female driver (mid 20s) was fatally injured when the car she was driving was struck by a falling tree.

“A female passenger (mid 50s) was injured and has been removed to Waterford Regional Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Emergencies services are still at scene.

“Gardaí urge all road users to remain indoors and not to travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary. Weather conditions in West Waterford and Waterford city are currently described as severe and reports of numerous falling trees due to high winds.”

Bus Eireann has now suspended ALL services for the day.

Vehicles will be back on the roads from 5am tomorrow but some school-goers should expect delays.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 13.22.34

***DAMAGE REPORT***

There are reports of roofs coming off buildings in areas of Cork and Tipperary.

Douglas Community School has reportedly lost the roof off its sport hall, while the GAA clubhouse in Passage West also saw its roof come off.

More on this as we get it

Reader Sean McMahon sent us this image of a fallen tree on Leeson Street Upper in Dublin.

 

bdr Source: Sean McMahon

Reader Sean McMahon sent us this image of a fallen tree on Leeson Street Upper in Dublin.

bdr Source: Sean McMahon

Sand bags ready

The Civil Defence is on standby today to help with any damage caused by Ophelia. Here’s what the Department of Defence said about their capabilities:

“Minister Paul Kehoe has emphasised the contribution of Civil Defence volunteers who are on standby across the country ready to assist in dealing with the effects of ex Hurricane Ophelia.

These highly trained volunteers are based in every county and were busy over the weekend preparing for the severe weather. Activities included filling sand bags, loading vehicles and setting up control centres.

“Civil Defence has a wide range of equipment including 4×4 vehicles, ambulances, boats, command and control vehicles, pumps and drones. As a second-line emergency service Civil Defence supports the Principal Response Agencies such as the Gardaí, the HSE and the Fire Service.

“Civil Defence volunteers will be deployed through their local authority in accordance with the procedures for dealing with severe weather as set out in the Framework for Major Emergency Management.”

 

Minister Kehoe is appreciative of the response by Civil Defence volunteers who can always be relied upon by the communities which they serve.

Sand bags ready

The Civil Defence is on standby today to help with any damage caused by Ophelia. Here’s what the Department of Defence said about their capabilities:

“Minister Paul Kehoe has emphasised the contribution of Civil Defence volunteers who are on standby across the country ready to assist in dealing with the effects of ex Hurricane Ophelia.

These highly trained volunteers are based in every county and were busy over the weekend preparing for the severe weather. Activities included filling sand bags, loading vehicles and setting up control centres.

“Civil Defence has a wide range of equipment including 4×4 vehicles, ambulances, boats, command and control vehicles, pumps and drones. As a second-line emergency service Civil Defence supports the Principal Response Agencies such as the Gardaí, the HSE and the Fire Service.

“Civil Defence volunteers will be deployed through their local authority in accordance with the procedures for dealing with severe weather as set out in the Framework for Major Emergency Management.”

 

Minister Kehoe is appreciative of the response by Civil Defence volunteers who can always be relied upon by the communities which they serve.

When will this end?

The NECG has said:

The immediate storm will not abate over the south coast until 4-6pm and midnight for the north of the country.

Stay vigilant. There have been winds of 110km/ph recorded off Cork which could be record-breaking.

In its latest statement, the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather said it has “learned with regret of the death of a woman today in Waterford”.

“The Group extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

It said the fatality “emphasises the dangers posed during this period”.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 13.55.20

***CORRECTION***

Gardai have issued a correction to the ages of the women involved in the fatal collision in Waterford today. 

They issued the following:

“Further to previous press release; correction on ages of injured parties.

“The female fatality, who was the driver of the vehicle is in her 50s, and the injured female passenger is in her 70s.

“Gardaí urge all road users to remain indoors and not to travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary. Weather conditions in West Waterford and Waterford city are currently described as severe and reports of numerous falling trees due to high winds.”

More closures to report – this time Tesco and Supermacs.

They have both decided to close all their stores for the rest of the day.

Tesco has said it will pay its staff for the day.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 14.11.36

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 14.10.30

Some people are still not heeding the warnings to stay inside today and NOT to engage in ‘hurricane tourism’.

RTE’s expert Teresa Mannion had details in the last half hour from what’s happening in Galway.

Our editor Susan Daly has put this together of the damage Ophelia has caused so far.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 14.41.47

Read this if you’re even *thinking* about going outside.

Stay put.

***AIRPORT UPDATES***

There are major flight disruptions across Ireland due to Storm Ophelia but the effects vary across different airports.

Cork Airport has cancelled all departures but some flights may still be arriving.

A gust of 122 km/h has been recorded at Shannon Airport but it remains open as airlines make decisions on individual departures.

Here’s a roundup of the latest flight disruption.

CORK Source: Cork Airport/Twitter

Unfortunately, we have just received more bad news. A man in Tipperary has died in another storm-related incident.

Gardai confirmed that a man in his 30s died when clearing a fallen tree at Ballybrado in Cahir, County Tipperary. 

Gardai said:

“Gardaí are at scene of a fatal incident that occurred at Ballybrado, Cahir, Co. Tipperary at approximately 12.30pm today.

“A man (early 30s) while in the course of clearing a fallen tree was seriously injured with a chain saw. He has since passed away and his body has been removed to Clonmel Hospital.

“Gardaí continue to advise all persons to stay indoors and not to venture out. Do not put your life or the lives of the Emergency Services at risk by travelling unless absolutely necessary.

“Please be advised if you require urgent assistance of the emergency services to dial 999.”

As Dublin continues to take a battering this afternoon, Golden Lane (where TheJournal.ie is based) has been closed due to falling debris from the roof of the Radisson Blu hotel.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 15.13.14

ESB has said that there are now 360,000 households and businesses without power.

All those who have already lost electricity will definitely be without it all day today, overnight and probably tomorrow.

Some people will endure being without power for 10 days, the utility has already warned.

No matter how many warnings you give people…

Gerry Andrews spotted this surfer out on the waves at 1.30pm while in Dalkey.

untitled-5522 Source: Gerry Andrews

This really is unprecedented…

Out of ESB Networks’ 1.2 million customers, 360,000 are without power.

Read more here.

In Cork city, a large portion of the roof of the Cork City FC stadium at Turner’s Cross has been ripped off.

cork Source: Soho Bar Cork via Twitter

It’s small fry today but it means the club might have to wait to be crowned League of Ireland champions.

See more on The42.

***SCHOOLS ARE TO REMAIN CLOSED TOMORROW***

Met Eireann has fresh warnings for those in the Midlands and Connacht.

“Take extreme care. A swathe of severe southwest winds already over parts of Clare, will propagate northwards through Connacht and west Midlands in the next couple of hours, as Storm #Ophelia continues to track north – northeastwards.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to express sympathies over the loss of life in Storm Ophelia.

She offered the assistance of the UK government, saying it was ready to provide support if asked to do so.

According to a statement from No. 10, the pair also discussed the political situation in Northern Ireland. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 16.07.03

Flag

There has been another Storm Ophelia-related fatality.

A man has been pronounced dead in Dundalk, County Louth after the car he was travelling in was hit by a tree at Ravensdale at 2.45pm.

Gardai and other emergency services are at the scene. No further details about the incident are available.

He is the third person to be killed as a result of today’s ex-hurricane.

Are you due to graduate tomorrow?

UCC has said it is going ahead with its conferring ceremonies – but some times have changed.

UCC – Storm Ophelia – Autumn Conferrings to go ahead on Tuesday, 17 October 

“UCC can confirm that all campuses will be open as normal tomorrow and lectures will recommence at 12 noon.

“UCC Autumn Conferrings will take place tomorrow, however, changes have been made to the previously advised timings as a result of Storm Ophelia.

Graduands should note the following changes to the schedule:

  • The 10am ceremony has moved to 12noon. Gowns will be available for collection from 10am.
  • The 12.30pm ceremony has moved to 2.30pm. Gowns will be available for collection from 12.30pm.
  • The 3.30pm ceremony has moved to 5.30pm. Gowns will be available for collection from 3.30pm.

Here’s the latest from gardai about roads and fallen trees in Dublin and other Leinster regions. 

ranelga In Ranelagh, Dublin 6, this old giant on Northbrook Road has collapsed onto a house Source: TheJournal.ie

“Wind speeds are picking up across the Dublin and Leinster Regions. There are widespread reports of trees down and debris across the roads network.

“Some of the roads and areas affected include:

  • Leeson Street
  • Deansgrange
  • Kilshane Cross
  • Northwood Avenue
  • Griffith Avenue
  • Knocksedan
  • Naul Road near Dublin Airport
  • Monestry Road
  • Lower Road Lucan
  • Tower Road
  • Castleknock
  • St James Hospital so access only via Rialto Entrance.

“There are power lines down and outages reported in Swords.

“Under no circumstances should people walking along coastal routes or near to waterways.

“Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy is appealing to the public to avoid all non essential journeys and is urging people to stay indoors until the storm has passed. If you require urgent assistance contact Emergency Services on 999 / 112.”

Met Eireann has issued its latest wind warning – this with a timestamp of 4.02pm.

“There is a danger to life and property,” it says because of violent and destructive winds.

There is also potential for flooding after heavy, thundery downpours.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 16.32.13

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***TRAVEL UPDATE***

There will be NO resumption of Irish Rail, Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus, DART and Luas services today.

This is the statement from Dublin Bus saying it is not in a position to put vehicles back on the road this evening, as had been planned.

It expects service to run from first bus tomorrow.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 16.40.59

The 360,000 households without power right now will not have service resumed for another few days.

Between 1,800 and 3,600 premises across the country will be without power for the next 10 days.

Here are some tips from ESB Networks about what to do.

Source: ESB Networks/YouTube
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Here’s a quick recap of some of what’s been happening today:

Worried about childcare tomorrow?

This is what the Department of Children has said this evening about childcare facilities.

Storm Ophelia – Childcare Update Monday 16th October 2017

Statement by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs

“Safety must be the top consideration as childcare providers decide when to resume services.

“The safety and welfare of children, staff and parents should be carefully considered by each service before they decide on service resumption.

“Assessments of buildings and other infrastructure should only be carried out when safe to do so. Local weather warnings should be observed at all times, as should local information on travel restrictions.

“The Department is advising that funding for those services offering state schemes will continue to be provided for Tuesday 17 October, irrespective of whether they are in a position to re-open.

“Those whose premises have been damaged or are facing prolonged power outages should advise their County Childcare Committees. The Department, Pobal and Childcare Committees across the country will be available to consider what assistance can be offered to services whose premises have been damaged due to the adverse weather.”

***TRAVEL UPDATE***

CORK Source: Cork Airport/Twitter

All outbound air traffic from Cork Airport has been cancelled.

No outbound flights will operate tonight.

A limited service of inbound flights will resume tomorrow morning.

The airport itself, however, remains open after a significant day of cancellations and delays to flights.

About nine flights are expected to land later this evening from 8.30pm to 12.30am, as airlines reposition aircraft in time for service tomorrow.

Cork Airport’s Head of Communications, Kevin Cullinane said:

Cork Airport continues to urge passengers to check directly with their airlines in the aftermath of Storm Ophelia for flight updates for the rest of today and indeed tomorrow.

“Over 5,000 passengers were impacted today as a result of the adverse weather. We continue to hold regular Business Continuity Management Meetings and the situation is being actively monitored.”

Following cancellations in what has been the worst storm to hit Cork Airport in its 56-year history, passengers are advised to expect delays and possible cancellations tomorrow, as airlines reschedule and assess the situation.

***OUTAGES***

Eir has said that 90 of its mobile sites are off air with the worst affected areas being the Southwest, West and Midlands.

The outages have left 11,000 people without broadband, telephone and mobile services. However, that number is expected to rise as access to crews is limited because of road closures.

In a statement, the company said Ophelia had “delivered unprecedented and widespread levels of damage to Eir’s infrastructure throughout the country”.

This includes damage to poles, cables and mast infrastructure. We anticipate that the network damage will extend as the storm tracks across the country.

It said the repair work will take some time given the “overhead nature of the network in rural Ireland”.

If damaged infrastructure is causing a public safety risk, people are asked to contact 1850 245 424 or An Garda Siochana.

Customers can find the latest information via www.eir.ie and can also log faults on the “Log a Fault” section of www.eir.ie or through an automated customer service line 1901. Faults can be reported to either service 24 hours a day, seven days week.

According to Eoghan Murphy, there have been over 100 calls to the emergency lines and to the rough sleeper email address from concerned members of the public in relation to homeless individuals.

These have all been followed up on, his department said.

There are also buses in the Dublin area at the moment picking up homeless people and bringing them indoors to safety.

Along with schools, all National Parks and Reserves will remain closed to the public tomorrow, Tuesday 17 October, pending the conduction of safety inspections.

That’s just in from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

An update is expected at noon tomorrow.

 

Along with UCC, University of Limerick and NUI Galway will open tomorrow.

NUI Galway said:

The University can confirm it will reopen tomorrow Tuesday, 17 October.  Lectures will go ahead as planned in addition to conferring ceremonies.

Conferring ceremonies will also go ahead as scheduled for the remainder of the week, with today’s (Monday) postponed ceremonies taking place this Saturday, 21 October.

A spokesperson for Limerick said:

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

Gardai have just posted about this case where a learner driver was caught taking photos out their window as they passed the squad car.

 

***IRISH WATER UPDATE***

Irish Water has said extensive power outages are affecting treatment plants and pumping stations but they have not, for the most part, impacted water supplies.

This is down to a combination of reservoir storage and backup generators on the more critical supplies, it said.

However, it said there will be supply restrictions between 10pm this evening and 7am tomorrow to conserve water where necessary.

It added:

There are communities without water mainly in southern counties, on schemes without storage and due to burst mains where it is unsafe for crews to carry out repairs for the moment.

A “small” number of Boil Water Notices have been issued due to treatment risks associated with power failures affecting the disinfection of plants.

We also have some power outages at wastewater plants and pumping stations resulting in discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage. Rainfall levels have been manageable and we have no reports of serious flooding on our networks.

Those schemes will be prioritised by ESB and the water utility tomorrow to avoid loss of supply on a greater scale.

If you have issues with your water supply, you can view the supply map on water.ie, visit twitter at @IWCare or call 1850 278 278. Irish Water says, “We would appreciate if members of the public would only call if there is an emergency as there are staff shortages in our call centre in Cork today. If there is a high volume of calls there may be some delay in getting through, we are grateful for your patience and cooperation.”

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 18.43.08 Source: Irish Water

Here is the Irish Water map of faults and incidents, including burst water mains. See more here.

That’s me, Sinead O’Carroll, signing off. I’ll hand you over to my colleague Ronan Duffy for the evening. The live updates will continue through the evening so keep with us for all information relating to Storm Ophelia.

Thank you for joining us.

Please remember, the dangers have not passed. Stay indoors and stay safe.

Hello, Rónán Duffy with the latest on the ongoing storm.

An important update for those making decisions on travelling tomorrow.

Bus Éireann will operate a FULL SCHEDULE tomorrow, with the exception of services provided under the School Transport Scheme.

Screenshot 2017-10-16 at 18.53.35 Source: Bus Éireann

Some public departments are also opening for sure tomorrow as well.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says its offices, including the Passport Service offices in Dublin and Cork, will open as normal on Tuesday 17 October.

Customers who were due to attend for passport appointments today should go tomorrow and efforts will be made to accommodate them,

Those who already have appointments for tomorrow should attend too.

Another important travel update, there will be NO LUAS tomorrow morning.

Dublin’s tram system may be back tomorrow afternoon, but we won’t know until noon.

Here’s the full statement from Luas operator Transdev:

Earlier today an incident occurred in the Luas Depot, Red Cow, Clondalkin. A technical room was damaged because of Hurricane Ophelia. It will take time to investigate the damage caused and time to repair. We are not able to give an estimate in relation to the time it will take. Luas will therefore not operate a service on Tuesday morning 17 October 2017.

Luas will inform customers, media and the public about Luas services post a 12 noon meeting tomorrow. Luas has updated the NECC on this matter.

Some good news for Limerick. the alert issued earlier in relation to flooding in the city and along parts of the Shannon Estuary has been cancelled.

Limerick City and County Coucil have said that flood defences in the city and in the Foynes are have worked. They are still urging caution though:

Water levels do remain high and flood defences are still in place and Limerick City and County Council is urging people to exercise extreme caution near the rivers and estuary as winds are still very strong and waters are choppy and highly unpredictable.

Met Éireann says it recorded winds of almost 200 km/h at Fastnet Rock off the Cork coast.

Some universities and third-level institutions are reopening to varying degrees tomorrow.

Waterford Institute of Technology is opening as normal but is advising students to travel only if it is safe to do so.

In Maynooth University, lectures have been cancelled but the campus facilities will be open to students.

In UCC, all lectures from noon onwards will be going ahead.

The latest update from ESB Networks says that there are about 330,000 without electricity, many of whom may be without it for some days

“Fallen trees on overhead lines are responsible for most of the damage to the network” ESB says. ​

The majority of customers who have lost supply at present will be without power tonight and over a number of days. Based on previous experience of Storm Darwin in 2014, where about 280,000 customers were left without supply, we can predict that it will take a number of days to restore power to all customers. Five to 10% of this number will be without power for up to ten days.

Evening all.

Gráinne Ní Aodha here bringing you the latest from Storm Ophelia as it continues its journey north.

So let’s start there with the latest in Northern Ireland – a number of people have been evacuated from apartments in Carrickfergus due to the risk of flooding.

Screenshot 2017-10-16 at 21.04.23 Source: PSNI

Travel update: Iarnród Éireann has released a minor update to their earlier announcement – they still plan on resuming services tomorrow (depending on a review in the morning).

But, these routes will be cancelled or will run with reduced capacity:

Cancellations

  • 05.50 Cork to Dublin Heuston cancelled. The 06.15 Cork to Dublin Heuston will additionally serve Mallow, Charleville and Limerick Junction
  • Limerick to Ballybrophy via Nenagh services cancelled. Bus substitution in place.
  • 09.45 Westport to Dublin Heuston cancelled.

Reduced capacity

  • Reduced capacity on 05.30, 06.40 & 07.40 Limerick to Dublin services
  • Reduced capacity on 05.30, 06.30 & 07.30 Galway to Dublin services.

If you’re planning on using a train in the morning, keep an eye on Irish Rail’s Twitter.

Gerry Murphy of Met Éireann has told RTÉ’s Nine O’Clock News that the storm is not over, and people shouldn’t get complacent tonight.

Although winds are not as dramatic as they were earlier in the day, people still need to be vigilant. Westerly winds can produce very high gusts, and if you have trees or structures that have been battered by the winds all day, they [can collapse easily].

It’s still an active storm and people should remain vigilant and indoors.

But:

“Tomorrow will be a lovely day,” he promised.

Fingal County Council is also warning people to stay away from coastal areas.

It also gave this little update on the work that was done today to clear fallen trees. A glimpse of the work that waits for local councils all across the country.

Screenshot 2017-10-16 at 22.16.53 Source: Fingal County Council

Don’t forget to report any damage or dangerous situations to the council.

That is, if you have electricity to see anything in your home.

Over 330,000 homes across Ireland are still without power. The ESB says it may take several days for homes and businesses to be reconnected.

And if you’re having a candle-lit evening, here’s an important message from Dublin Fire Brigade: remember to put them out.

Here’s some of the damage done on Boreenmanna Road, Co Cork, sent into us this evening by Aoife Murphy.

IMG-20171016-WA0011 Source: Aoife Murphy

IMG-20171016-WA0010 Source: Aoife Murphy

IMG-20171016-WA0009 Source: Aoife Murphy

Met Eireann have compiled a list of the top ten recorded gusts of wind today. Have a look:

  • Fastnet Lightnouse, 191 km/h
  • Roches Point, 156 km/h
  • Kinsale Platform, 141 km/h
  • Waterford Airport, 137 km/h
  • Sherkin Island, 135 km/h (before loss of power)
  • Cork Airport, 126 km/h (before loss of power)
  • Shannon Airport, 122 km/h
  • Casement Airport, 117 km/h
  • Johnstown Castle, 115 km/h
  • Oak Park, 111 km/h.

Many people are thanking those in public services who responded to the storm today – both before and after it struck (quick reminder here that it’s still ongoing).

Earlier Gerard O’Flynn of the Irish Coast Guard told TheJournal.ie that Met Eireann’s response has been outstanding, and they wished to thank them for the manner in which they warned the country of what was to come.

That feeling of gratitude has been spread to gardaí, local authorities, fire services and other emergency and public servants that have helped keep people safe.

Hear, hear.

Autumn weather Oct 16th 2017 Source: PA Wire/PA Images

In that spirit of staying safe, keep an eye on the accounts that will update you on where Storm Ophelia is throughout tonight and tomorrow.

That’s all for the moment from TheJournal.ie team – we’ll be picking up the reins again from 6.30am tomorrow.

Stay safe.

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