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Severe winds hit Ireland as Storm Barra rolls in, leaving 60 000 customers without power

storm-barra-ireland-damage-december-2021

A powerful deep low-pressure area moving in from the Atlantic Ocean hit Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 7 and 8, 2021, bringing severe winds and heavy rain. At the height of the storm, more than 60 000 customers were without power. Storm Barra was named by Met Éireann on December 5. It's the second named storm of the 2021/22 season, which runs from September 2021 through the end of August 2022.

Barra brought widespread severe and damaging winds across Ireland on Tuesday and early on Wednesday.

Sherkin Island recorded a wind gust of 135 km/h (84 mph) and a mean wind speed of 111 km/h (69 mph) on Tuesday, just shy of its all-time station record of 113 km/h (70 mph) on February 12, 2014.1

Impacts were felt across the country, with fallen trees nationwide and reports of spot flooding in areas, power outages for tens of thousands of customers, and travel disruption with several road closures and delays and cancellations to bus, rail, air, and ferry services.

Image credit: Met Éireann

Barra created perfect conditions for yet more unstoppable flooding in Bantry, forcing locals to build sandbag walls. Even with the flood defenses in place, 23 premises in Bantry were partially flooded as Barra coincided with high tide.2

The storm left a trail of uprooted trees and power outages, as well as flooded homes, businesses, and roads along the southwest coast, with the inhabitants of the Mizen, Sheep’s Head and Beara peninsulas bearing the brunt of the storm force-11 winds, 7-m (23 feet) waves, and torrential rain.

At the height of the storm, more than 60 000 customers were without power, with counties along the Western and Northwestern Seaboard most impacted. On Wednesday night, 13 000 customers remained without power.

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management issued a statement after a meeting on Wednesday morning, urging vigilance as the aftermath of a storm is often the most dangerous time as people undertake clean-up and repair.

Due to the particular nature of this severe weather event, the government ordered the closure of all schools in areas covered by Orange warning. This is the first time such an order has been issued for areas under Orange warning, as the closure of schools is usually reserved only for Red warnings.3

All schools were reopened on Thursday.

Storm Barra at 05:15 UTC on December 7, 2021. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-11, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

Storm Barra at 11:15 UTC on December 7, 2021. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-11, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

References:

1 Winds slowly ease as Storm Barra moves away from Ireland – Met Éireann

2 Storm Barra: Schools to reopen tomorrow as winds ease – Irish Times

3 Storm Barra: Status Orange zone schools closure to be reviewed for future, says Tánaiste – Independent.ie

Featured image: Storm Barra at 11:15 UTC on December 7, 2021. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-11, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

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