Fresh weather warnings have been issued on Friday morning as Storm Eunice tracks over Ireland with Met Éireann warning of a “significant threat to life” in some areas.
Status red, orange and yellow warnings are in place across the country with the storm closing schools in some counties. 55,000 homes and businesses are reported to be without power this morning, according to the ESB.
Gardaí have urged the public to heed warnings for their local areas and 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.
A red wind warning is in place for Waterford until 11am “damaging” southwest winds veering northwest will reach mean speeds in excess of 80km/h with gusts in excess of 130km/h.
A status red wind warning for Cork, Kerry and Clare was lifted at 8am. However, an orange warning for those counties remains in place.
“Red warnings mean weather conditions will be extremely dangerous with a significant threat to life – we’re urging people in these areas not to make unnecessary journeys and follow advice from local authorities and emergency services,” said Met Éireann meteorologist Gerry Murphy.
Power outages are being reported widely in various parts of the country, particularly on the west coast.
The ESB said that the main source of power outages is mainly attributable to damage caused by fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds.
In Kerry, around 4,500 homes and businesses are without power in Oughtragh, ner Killorglin, while almost 1,700 are without in Milltown. Some 7,800 are without power in Knockearagh.
The ESB’s PowerCheck states that around 2,000 are without power in Gurranebane near Cahersiveen. In Cork, around 1,200 homes and businesses are without power in Glengarriff while homes in Bantry have also been affected.
2,500 are without power in Ballydehob with large numbers of outages also being reported in Ballylicky and Dunmanway.
Brian Tapley, from ESB, said on Friday: “We will know the extent of the damage to our network probably by midday, because the storm is passing so quickly.” He told RTÉ radio that ESB workers would aim to “restore everyone as quickly as possible and safely as possible”.
An ESB spokesperson said that with the storm still crossing the south of the country “more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected”.
“ESB Networks reminds the public to never, ever touch or approach fallen overhead lines as they are live and extremely dangerous.
ESB crews are being mobilised on the ground in areas. “Poor weather, including snow in some parts of the country, may hamper crews in repairing the network,” the spokesperson added.
In Cork, the county council said that crews have been on standby throughout the night and the Severe Weather Assessment Team and Crisis Management Team will convene later this morning.
High tide passed in Bantry without flooding, while in Fermoy, flood barriers have been erected as a precaution.
The M8 is closed between junction 14 and 15 due to high winds, the council said and it is due to reopen at 9am, however, this could change.
Fallen trees have been reported across the country and motorists are being advised o drive with care.
Cork City Council director of services and operations, David Joyce, said that while the city had escaped any major damage, motorists were being advised to remain “very cautious” until this evening.
The local authority for the city had no emergencies overnight, but there were reports of loose branches and items on various roads, he said.
“Overnight thankfully, there was not a tremendous amount of damage done, there was no emergency callouts, for example. There is still obviously a significant amount of high winds, and we are still in Orange Alert until 11am, so we would still advise people not to travel where it is unnecessary.”
The Yellow Alert has been extended to 6pm, he said.
“It is going to remain wet and windy all day long. I have been driving around the city, and while there is not a massive amount of damage done, there is an awful lot of smaller branches and leaves on the roads, especially the local tertiary roads. We would therefore still advise people to drive with extreme care and caution.”
An orange wind warning is in place for Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Wexford, Wicklow, Munster and Galway until 11am, with winds hitting mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h with gusts up to 130km/h.
Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon are currently under a status orange snow warning.
In place until 3pm, the storm is due to bring “heavy sleet and snow leading to blizzard-like conditions in parts with treacherous driving conditions”.
Mr Murphy warned: “We can expect to see fallen trees, damage to power lines and buildings, with hazardous driving conditions and delays and cancellations to transport.”
Storm Eunice has led to schools and colleges being closed in nine counties – in Cork, Kerry, Waterford and Clare where there have been red warnings as well as Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon.
Fresh status yellow warnings were issued on Friday morning for the entire country.
A snow and ice warning is in place until 10am on Saturday with falls of sleet and snow due leading to “accumulations in some areas and icy stretches leading to hazardous driving conditions”.
A wind and rain warning is now in place until 6pm on Friday, with Met Éireann saying heavy rain will be coupled with winds reaching mean speeds of 50 to 65km/h and gusts of up to 110km/h.
“Some disruption is likely along with a possibility of coastal and spot flooding,” Met Éireann has said.
Matthew Martin of Met Éireann, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast warned that “things will deteriorate” as the