herald

Monday 20 November 2017

Capital set for worst of winds as storm continues

chaos: Gusts of up to 170kph hit country with 5,300 phonelines down

THE capital was coping with more strong winds today after storm-force gales left thousands of homes across the country without power and a phone service.

Rarely experienced gusts of up to 170kph hit the country, wreaking havoc in places.

Eircom said the phonelines of 5,300 customers were down this morning, while the ESB said 120 homes remained without power.

Met Eireann told the Herald that winds would be strongest in the north west and north east today.

Dublin was today braved a wet and extremely windy day, with gusts hammering the east coast a lot more than yesterday's super storm.

"We're going to get a windy day but nothing like yesterday. It's going to be wet and windy," Met Eireann said this morning.



Damage

Strong gales out at sea also affected coastal areas.

However, both Eircom and ESB personnel were on standby to deal with any further damage after some 20,000 homes were blacked out.

Paul Bradley of Eircom said: "We cleared about 1,200 faults yesterday. We'd expect to clear more than that again today with our crews that are working but with the continued high winds that are forecast I can see there will be further faults in the system."

The highest number of faults occurred on the west and northwest coasts but there are higher than usual fault levels on the east coast as well, from Dundalk, Drogheda and down to Dublin, he added.

Some 500 Eircom repair crews are out working, while 150 additional staff have been placed on duty to help get the phonelines working as quickly as possible, Mr Bradley said.

AA Roadwatch said today driving conditions had greatly improved when compared to Tuesday morning's conditions.

Flights in and out of Dublin were delayed yesterday with several cancellations to services to Ireland's regional airports as well as to flights to Britain.

Airlines were today organising alternative flights for travellers who were unable to leave Dublin.

Some flights and ferry crossings were cancelled as a result of the high winds and a number of roads were blocked by fallen debris.

Meanwhile, climate change could lead to more wind gusts of 170kph which hit Co Donegal on Monday night.

The rare meteorological phenomenon called Sting Jets were discovered by scientists in England after the Great Storm of 1987.

Sting Jets occur when rapidly descending cold dry air high in the atmosphere collides with warm moist air, forecaster Siobhan Ryan said.

"It is very unusual to have wind gusts of more than 173kph," she said. "That's 105 miles per hour and that would be very rare.

"The Sting Jet looks like a scorpion's tail from space and starts at an altitude of three miles. As the cold air descends, it accelerates to more than 100mph at ground level," said Ms Ryan.

Sting Jet formations could increase as more heat energy enters the atmosphere through global warming.

The recording -- at Ireland's most northerly point at Malin Head, Co Donegal -- came on a day of widespread disruption as flights were delayed or cancelled and road journeys made hazardous by falling trees.

More than 15,000 homes were without power at one stage yesterday as the force-12 storm hit Ireland in the early hours of the morning.

The worst affected areas were across Sligo, Mayo and Donegal where dozens of trees were uprooted and several main roads blocked.

hnews@herald.ie

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