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A tree down near Dunmanway Hospital in West Cork today. AG News/Alamy Live News
AS IT HAPPENED

As it happened: Status Yellow wind and snow warnings remain in effect nationwide due to Storm Eunice

Schools are closed in nine counties today.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 18th 2022, 4:45 PM

THOUSANDS OF HOMES AND businesses are without power today due to Storm Eunice, as parts of the country manage the fallout of the bad weather event.

Power cuts – which are affecting 44,000 ESB customers – are most widespread in Kerry and Cork while Clare, Limerick, Offaly, Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Westmeath, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Donegal have also been affected.

ESB networks says crews are working to restore power in impacted areas. More damage and interruptions to supply are expected, as strong winds are still crossing the south of the country. 

Schools and colleges in nine counties – Clare, Cork, Kerry, Waterford Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon – will remain closed today, as the storm moves across Ireland bringing “severe and damaging” winds.

  • A Status Yellow wind warning is in place for the entire country until 6pm.
  • A yellow snow warning for the entire country is in place until 10am tomorrow.
  • A council worker clearing debris was fatally injured by a falling tree in Co Wexford. 
  • Status Red and Orange wind warnings that were in place for several counties lapsed at 11am.
  • Some flights, ferries and public transport services have been cancelled.
  • Road users have been urged to be careful as fallen trees are creating dangerous conditions.

We’ll be adding updates here as the morning progresses, so stay with us…

Good morning, here’s the range of weather warnings in place as Storm Eunice quickly tracks across the island, bringing severe and damaging winds. 

As well as red, orange and yellow weather warnings, red and orange marine warnings are also in place until 1pm.

Screenshot 2022-02-18 at 06.43.40 Met Éireann Met Éireann

Iarnród Éireann says all rail services are operating at the moment. However, trains will be travelling at reduced speeds on some routes.

Power outages

Thousands of homes in the south and south-west are without power this morning.

ESB’s PowerCheck monitor shows that 4,532 customers are without electricity in Oughtragh, Co Kerry, 2,166 customers are affected in Cahirsiveen and 1,659 are impacted in Milltown, Co Kerry.

In Co Cork, 1,193 are affected in Glengariff and 115 customers are without power in Bantry.

518 homes are also suffering from electricity outages in Birr, Co Offaly.

Power outages have also been reported in Waterford, Donegal, Wexford, Mayo, and Roscommon.

Bus Éireann has cancelled more Expressway bus services. All Bus Éireann services in Cork and Kerry had earlier been suspended from 1am – 10am.

This applies to all routes operating into or out of the status red warning area.

HSE update

In Cork and Kerry, day services for older people, those in disability services, and mental health services are closed until the Red Weather warning has passed.

Appointments at health centres and primary care centres will go ahead after the Red Weather warning.

All scheduled Covid-19 vaccination centres and testing centres in the two counties will open once the red warning has passed. 

At University Hospital Waterford all outpatient appointments between 7am and 10am will be rescheduled.

All outpatient appointments between 7am and 10am on Friday 17 February will be rescheduled.

All scheduled appointments across Mental Health, Older Persons and Primary Care services in Co. Clare are cancelled today.

Limited Covid-19 testing will take place in Limerick from 12.30pm for those who have appointments.

In Mayo, the Breaffy House Resort Covid-19 Vaccination Centre has updated its hours to 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 7pm – provided the storm has passed.

At Nenagh Covid-19 Testing Centre in Tipperary, limited Covid-19 testing will take place from 12.30pm for those who have appointments.

Cork

Cork County Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team and Crisis Management Team will convene later this morning.

High tide passed in Bantry without flooding. Pumps were activated for approximately 15 minutes and this was sufficient to lower the level until water levels peaked before 6am.

The N71 in the Main Square in Bantry will be closed until 8.30am.

The M8 motorway is closed between junction 14 and 15 due to high winds. It is due to reopen at 9am but this could change.

Flood Barriers have been erected in Fermoy as a precaution with demountable barriers erected at Brian Boru Square Slipway, Thomas Street and at the Sub Aqua Club on the Rathealy Road.  These barriers are all located offline with minimal impact on road users.

On the river Blackwater Longfields Bridge (R621) and the bridge in Killavullen are both closed.

Some driving tests in Clare, Cork, Kerry and Waterford have been cancelled this morning.

The Road Safety Authority says drivers in Orange Alert counties are asked not to travel if they feel it is unsafe to do so.

“You will not lose your fee. We will issue you another invite to book your test in the coming days,” it said.

Kerry County Council says water supplies may be affected in some areas this morning due to power outages. It said affected areas will have supplies restored as the day progresses.

 

Red alert expires for Cork, Kerry and Clare

The Status Red wind warning for Cork, Kerry and Clare has expired, but a Status Orange warning remains in place until 11am.

A red warning remains in place for Waterford until 11am.

Power cuts hit Limerick

Thousands of homes are without power in Limerick as Storm Eunice continues to progress across the country.

ESB Networks is reporting faults affecting 1,335 customers at Newcastlewest and a further 123 affected nearby at Churchtown.

1,076 customers are without power in Kilmallock.

Outages at Kyletaun, near Croom, are impacting 865 customers while 128 customers are also without electricity in Birdhill.

Power cuts hit 55,000 homes and businesses

ESB’s Power Check monitor is reporting thousands of additional power cuts with Cork, Kerry and Clare worst affected.

Approximately 55,000 ESB customers are without power this morning due to the storm.

Screenshot 2022-02-18 at 09.07.10 ESB PowerCheck ESB PowerCheck

Here’s the latest from Met Éireann.

The meteorological service is warning that winds will “strengthen abruptly” this morning.

Crews from Kerry County Council are out and about clearing fallen trees from roads around the county.

Snow in the North West

Donegal County Council is reporting that several roads are now impassable due to snow.

The R244 between Drumfree and Carndonagh and the R255 / R251 Back of Errigal Road are both impassable at present.

Meanwhile, Twitter users are sharing photos of the snow blanketing the county. 

Fallen trees are causing difficulty across much of the country with local authorities mobilising crews to clear roads of debris.

Irish Examiner journalist Ellen O’Regan has shared dramatic photos showing the extensive damage caused after a tree hit her family home in Cobh, Co Cork.

The tree burst through windows and ceilings but thankfully no one was hurt.

Donegal County Council has alerted people to further road closures due to snow.

The R250 road at Meenaroy is currently blocked with vehicles caught in the snow.

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible. DCC staff are on site trying to clear the road at present. An update will issue when the road is cleared,” the county council said.

Donegal News journalist Emma Ryan has also shared an important update:

Water supplies in Wexford town are restricted due to a major power outage.

Cancelled flights

Dozens of flights arriving to and departing from Irish airports have been cancelled due to the weather conditions created by the storm.

At Dublin Airport, 19 departing and 21 arriving flights have been cancelled and several more have been delayed.

Eight flights at Cork Airport have been cancelled, four arrivals and four departures.

Passengers are being told to check with providers before departure.

Here’s the weather and marine warnings that are currently in place after Red and Orange wind alerts – that were in place for several counties – lapsed at 11am.

A Status Yellow wind warning is in place for the entire country until 6pm. A yellow snow warning is in place until 10am tomorrow.

Screenshot 2022-02-18 at 11.13.26 Met Éireann Met Éireann

The hugely popular Cuilcagh Boardwalk trail in Co Fermanagh is closed today due to the weather.

Photo evidence confirms it looks beautiful blanketed in snow.

Bus Éireann says the majority of services throughout the country are operating as normal, including in Cork, Kerry and Clare.

Its Chief Customer Officer Allen Parker told RTÉ’s Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes programme that some issues remain in Waterford.

“I think we are impacted in Waterford at the minute. All our services in Waterford are suspended due to the Red warning and they’ll start resuming around 1pm today,” he said.

“I think other than that the majority of the services throughout the country are running with a small number of services impacted in the northwest due to ice this morning. They are up on our website.”

A livestream of planes arriving at Heathrow Airport in London has proven to be the star attraction of Storm Eunice so far.

The Big Jet TV stream currently has over 100,000 live viewers as many tune in for the tense attempted landings complete with breathless commentary.

BIG JET TV / YouTube

ESB update

ESB Networks has apologised to 80,000 customers that are currently without power.

The damage is mainly due to fallen trees on overhead lines and crews are restoring power where it is safe to do so. 

The damage has been most extensive in West Cork and Kerry, with the most impacted areas including Kilgarvan, Caherciveen, Milltown, Bandon, Bantry, Ballydehob and Dunmanway.

Outages have also occurred in Clonmel and Wexford town.

ESB said more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected as strong winds are still crossing the south of the country. 

Afternoon all, Tadgh McNally here taking the reins of the liveblog from Céimin for the next while.

You can get in touch with me at tadgh@thejournal.ie.

Across the water, the UK Met Office has said that the highest ever wind gust recorded in England was captured earlier this morning.

The provisional recording of 122mph was captured on The Needles on The Isle Of Wight.

Irish Water have issued an update saying that there has been a “minimal impact” on customer supplies as Storm Eunice continues to track across Ireland.

The worst impacted counties are on the South Coast of the country, with Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford being hit hardest.

Currently, there are 46 water supplies at risk due to the storm. Most of the risk is due to power outages at local plants, causing storage levels to run low locally.

Tom Cuddy, Irish Water’s Head of Operations says that the company is working with local authorities and the ESB to tackle any issues.

“We would like to assure our customers that we will be working as a matter of priority to restore any supplies should they be impacted by the storm as quickly as possible, once it is safe to do so,” said Cuddy.

ESB Update

With over 80,000 homes without power across the country, the ESB has said that a majority of the homes impacted are within West Cork and South Kerry at the moment.

Brian Tapley, speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, said that he expects a majority of customers to be reconnected to the network by the end of the day.

“We expect to have significant numbers of our customers back by tonight, but particularly in South Kerry, West Cork, given the focused impact of the event there will be some customers that won’t’ be back until tomorrow, unfortunately.

“We have all our available crews and contractors deployed at the moment, and as other areas get clear of their faults we will be redeploying crews to the areas worst affected or worst impacted.

“Every available resource is out and is assessing and repairing faults as we speak and will continue to do so late into tonight.”

Wexford council worker dies during storm clean-up

A Wexford County Council employee has been fatally injured while attending to debris from Storm Eunice.

It is understood the man was working for Wexford County Council in the border area of Wexford and Wicklow earlier today.

More information on this tragic incident is available here.

Death in Wexford

Wexford County Council has released a statement on the tragic death of a council worker, who died while clearing debris.

County Secretary David Minogue said:

“It is with deep regret and sadness that Wexford County Council confirms that one of our employees was fatally injured earlier today in a workplace accident.

“The accident occurred as the employee attended the scene of a fallen tree in the North Wexford area.

“The employee’s family, An Garda Síochána and the Health and Safety Authority have been informed.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family, work colleagues and friends at this very difficult time.”

People in Kerry, particularly in the Cahersiveen and Kenmare areas, are being asked to  conserve water as power outages have led water levels in reservoirs to drop.

Kerry County Council says supply is being managed to ensure water outages are minimised.

The National Emergency Coordination Group held a meeting today to review the impact of the storm.

It issued the following safety advice to the public:

  • Stay away from all coastal areas for the duration of the Met Éireann warnings.
  • All road users should be aware of the potential for hazardous travelling conditions. Motorists should slow down and be aware of the dangers of fallen trees and debris. High sided vehicles, cyclists and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable during this time.
  • Keep mobile phone charged.
  • It is critical that people never ever touch or approach fallen wires,  stay safe and stay clear of fallen or damage electricity wires, and contact us at 1800 372 999.

Storm Eunice 004 High waves and sea spray at Howth Harbour as Storm Eunice passes Dublin. Leon Farrell Leon Farrell

It’s not just trees that are causing issues on roads around the country, even shed roofs are getting involved.

Cork based Cian McCarthy shared these photos.

An Aer Lingus flight from Shannon to London Heathrow that was due to depart at 4:30pm has been cancelled.

Passengers are being told to contact the airline directly for more details.

Things are still hectic on the coasts, with some photographers trying to get a few snaps of the high waves.

Here’s one from Leon Farrell showing the waves crashing over the sea walls in Howth, Co Dublin.

Storm Eunice 004 Leon Farrell Leon Farrell

The weather is remaining very changeable in parts of the country this afternoon, with flurries of snow quickly dissipating into clear skies and sun.

The same occurred in Stoneybatter earlier today, with video showing snowfall before sun breaks out shortly after.

That’s it from us this afternoon on Storm Eunice.

We’ll have more updates on The Journal later this evening about the ongoing efforts to restore power in parts of the country. 

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