More than 50,000 homes without power as Storm Eunice batters Ireland

Schools and colleges across the country will remain closed on Friday after officials warned of a ‘high-impact, multi-hazard weather event’.

Thousands of homes in the south of Ireland are without power following the arrival of Storm Eunice in the early hours of Friday (Brian Lawless/PA)
Thousands of homes in the south of Ireland are without power following the arrival of Storm Eunice in the early hours of Friday (Brian Lawless/PA)

Tens of thousands of homes in the south of the island of Ireland are without power, as Storm Eunice continues to rage.

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

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

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

On Friday 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 of Ireland will also remain closed on Friday, following advice from the Department of Education.

In nine counties, schools will be shut after Met Eireann 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 on Friday morning: “We will know the extent of the damage to our network probably by midday, because the storm is passing so quickly.”

He told RTE 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 on Friday.

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 Eireann, 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 RTE radio.

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

Gardai 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 Eireann 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 on Friday.

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

A woman walks past a mural of a red umbrella in Dublin as schools and colleges in nine counties in the Republic of Ireland are closed on Friday (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland’s National Emergency Co-ordination Group met on Thursday to finalise planning, with chairman Keith Leonard predicting a “high-impact, multi-hazard weather event”.

On Friday 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 Eireann 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.

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

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

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