Storms set to continue overnight

Met Eireann has issued a warning that stormy conditions, possibly causing more fallen trees and structural damage, will continue to hit Donegal until sometime tomorrow morning.

Met Eireann has issued a warning that stormy conditions, possibly causing more fallen trees and structural damage, will continue to hit Donegal until sometime tomorrow morning.

Meteorologist Pat Clarke told the Donegal Democrat: “Donegal is in for another spell of windy weather and heavy rain. There will be gale and strong gale westerly winds, possible reaching storm force 10 overnight. We expect gusts of up to 115kph in exposed uplands and coastal areas.

“Although these winds will not be as strong as we saw on Monday night and Tuesday, they could cause more damage. Any trees that have been weakened by the previous storms might be toppled by either the new winds or the heavy rains, which would damage the trees’ root structure. Similarly, any roof tiles, utility poles or other structures that have already been weakend or damaged, may be further affected.”

Heavy swells are also expected and a small craft advisory is in effect. Mr Clarke cautioned: “Walking along coastal areas is not a good idea, as there may well be freak waves.”

Near record winds

Hurricane force winds gusted up to 169kph (91 knots/105mph) just after 5am on Tuesday at Malin Head and gusts reached 140kph (75 knots/86mph) at Finner Camp.

The wind speed at Malin Head has only been exceeded on a handful of occasions. The Boxing Day storm of 1998 saw winds reach 170kph (96 knots/100mph) In September 1961, the remains of Hurricane Debbie set new records all along the west coast of Ireland, with gusts of 181kph (98 knots/113mph) recorded at Malin Head.

Phones still out

While electricity supply has been restored to the vast majority of homes, more phone lines are out in the county today than there were yesterday.

Brian Montayne of Electricity Ireland said around 100 homes are still without electricity in Donegal. He advised that most of the repairs carried out yesterday were of a temporary nature and that faults could re-occur if the heavy winds persist.

A spokesperson for eircom confirmed that the number of faults reported rose from 430 yesterday to more than 500 by this morning. This compares to around 5,000 nationally. The worst affected areas in Donegal are Buncrana, Falcarragh, Clonmany and Malin Head.

Eircom’s Paul Bradley said: “Conditions are still very difficult out there. It’s extremely windy and severe winds are forecast today. Rural areas are being particularly badly hit, as the length of cables are longer and the lines are more exposed there. There is more of a likelihood that these lines will go down and it can take longer to repair them.”

He asked the public to be patient. “We have 650 staff out working across the country. They are used to working in difficult conditions but we also have their health and safety to take into consideration.

“We are obviously concerned about people living in very isolated areas and, if they don’t have access to a phone or can’t get online themselves, they should ask a neighbour or their postman to report the fault for them by either telephone 1901 or logging it online at www.eircom.ie/logafault.