Unprecedented power outages as deadly Ex-Hurricane "Ophelia" hits Ireland

Unprecedented power outages as deadly Ex-Hurricane

Over 360 000 homes and businesses are currently without power in Ireland as Ex-Hurricane "Ophelia" tracks over the country with hurricane-force winds. The number of outages is only going to increase and could easily reach 500 000 within the next couple of hours, officials say. At least three people have lost their lives. A RED severe weather warning, the highest, is still in effect for the entire Ireland.

Ophelia reached Ireland early Monday morning, October 16, 2017 hitting Munster and south Leinster in the south of the country with violent and destructive winds, rapidly extending to the rest of the country.

 It will continue to bring further gusts of 120 and 150 km/h (74 - 93 mph) through the rest of the day but some gusts are likely to exceed these values in exposed hilly and coastal areas. Some flooding expected also, due to either heavy thundery downpours and or storm surges in coastal areas. 

"The strongest winds are on the eastern and southern flank of Ophelia’s low pressure center," Met Eireann, the Irish National Meteorological Service said. "The heaviest rain is on the northwestern and western flank. To the east of the path of the storm center winds will back southeasterly ahead of its passage north, veering southwesterly behind it. Winds will be cyclonic along the Atlantic Seaboard."

Strongest gusts registered by 12:00 UTC:

  • 191 km/h (118.6 mph) at Fastnet Rock (6.5 km / 4 miles SW of Cape Clear Co. Cork, at a height of 60.9 m / 200 feet) 
  • 156 km/h (96.9 mph) at Roches Point
  • 135 km/h (83.8 mph) at Sherkin Island (before the weather station lost power)
  • 126 km/h (78.3 mph) at Cork Airport (before a loss of power)
  • 122 km/h (75.8 mph) at Shannon Airport

Winds will gradually abate from the south through this evening and tonight.

Rainfall:

  • 17 mm (0.66 inches) at Valentia, including 9 mm (0.35 inches) in one hour
  • 17 mm (0.66 inches) at Mace Head, including 8 mm (0.31 inches) in the past hour

Winds unleashed by the storm brought down trees and power lines across the country, closing roads and causing unprecedented power outages.

As of 15:00 UTC, more than 360 000 homes and businesses are without power across the country's south and the number is expected to easily reach 500 000 within the next couple of hours. 

The majority of customers are expected to remain without power for several days.

Bernadette Maloney, head of corporate affairs for the ESB Networks, said they hope crews from other countries will assist Ireland as the country tries to recover from the most powerful storm to hit the country in half a century.

"We've gone to help France in the past and the UK, so those favors will be reciprocated as well," she said.

"When Storm Darwin hit a number of years ago the number of customers affected was around 250 000 in total, so this is far in excess of the people who were affected during Storm Darwin.

"The number of outages is increasing all the time as the storm progresses across the country

"Crews are beginning to go out and assess the damage and when the storm has passed, people may get out and about but there may be power lines down. Do not approach them. They are live and dangerous."

The Department of Education has advised that all schools remain closed on Tuesday, October 17, 2017.

At least three people have lost their lives, as of 15:46 UTC. One woman tragically died in Waterford after a tree fell on the car she was traveling in. One man died in Tipperary after he was fatally injured with a chainsaw he used to clear a fallen tree. Another man died in Louth after a tree crushed his car.

A RED severe weather warning, the highest, is still in effect for the entire Ireland.

Featured image: Ex-Hurricane "Ophelia" at 10:25 UTC on October 16, 2017. Credit: Met Eireann

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