herald

Friday 19 January 2018

Thousands left without power as major storm Eleanor rolls in

Two young boys brave the high winds to walk their dog on Howth Pier. Photo: Tony Gavin
Two young boys brave the high winds to walk their dog on Howth Pier. Photo: Tony Gavin

More than 50,000 people were left without power and winds of up to 140kph battered Ireland last night as Storm Eleanor carved a path across the country.

Five weather warnings, including a status orange, were issued yesterday with "serious flooding", impassable roads and fallen trees causing havoc to western counties.

In Galway, a young woman who had to be rescued from the flood waters told of how she feared being swept away.

Ranjani Nagarajan (25), who is originally from India, had been walking home when she got trapped in flood waters that quickly rose to her chest.

Grabbed

"The water was up to my knees as I walked home. I was just two minutes away from my home when suddenly I was up to my chest," she said.

"I'm really short and I was afraid I would slip into the flowing water."

Ms Nagarajan was passing Pearla na Mara restaurant when the waters rose.

A hardy swimmer takes a dip at the Forty Foot in Dublin.Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
A hardy swimmer takes a dip at the Forty Foot in Dublin.Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

A restaurant worker managed to pull her up on to the window ledge.

"He grabbed me and pulled me out of the water. I started panicking and crying and I couldn't breathe," Ms Nagarajan said.

"We were both hanging there for about eight or 10 minutes before more help came."

She was eventually rescued after emergency services in an inflatable dinghy came to the scene and carried her to safety.

While the full force of the storm was not expected to hit the capital until late last night, high winds were causing problems by early evening.

The storm caused delays to more than 30 flights at Dublin Airport.

Dublin Fire Brigade said Lansdowne Road was closed shortly after 8pm due to "an issue with a crane", while a downed tree made Watery Lane in Clondalkin impassable.

Dublin Zoo was also forced to cancel its Wild Lights exhibition last night due to high winds.

Met Eireann said gusts were causing poor driving conditions in Connacht and the midlands as the storm tracked eastward.

A man taking photographs gets caught by crashing waves at High Rock in Portmarnock, Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
A man taking photographs gets caught by crashing waves at High Rock in Portmarnock, Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Many parts of the west were also affected by power outages, with 50,000 ESB customers in Mayo, Galway and Leitrim left without electricity by 7pm.

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