More damage expected as storms continue to lash county in latest harsh spell

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

Donegal continues to be hammered by the second severe storm to hit the county this week with flooding fears the latest concern.

Donegal continues to be hammered by the second severe storm to hit the county this week with flooding fears the latest concern.

Meteoroglists issued a weather alert for Donegal yesterday, warning that the severe winds and heavy rains are expected to last right through most of this morning and are likely to cause more damage.

Last night winds were predicted to reach storm force 10 in coastal areas off Donegal. Met Eireann’s Pat Clarke said gusts of up to 115kph were expected along the coast and in upland areas. He said trees that had already been weakened by the first storm might fall and structures could also be further damaged.

A sea area warning was also in force, due to heavy swells. Mr Clarke advised: “Walking along coastal areas is not a good idea, as there may well be freak waves.”

Cllr. David Alcorn told the Donegal Democrat yesterday: “I’ve never seen weather like it in my life. I was at Cathal Murray’s funeral in Belcruit today and it was just atrocious, definitely the worst weather I’ve seen in 40 years. It will take a long time to sort out the flooding damage, it if ever stops raining long enough.”

The latest storm comes hot on the heels of the hurricane force winds and torrential rains that battered Donegal on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Hurricane force winds gusted up to 169kph just after 5am on Tuesday at Malin Head and gusts reached 140kph at Finner Camp. The wind speed at Malin Head has only been exceeded on a handful of occasions. The St Stephen’s Day Storm of 1998 saw winds reach 170kph. In September 1961, the remains of Hurricane Debbie brought gusts of 181kph to Malin Head.

By yesterday, power was restored to all but about 100 of the 9,000 homes in Donegal and Sligo that were cut off by Monday night’s storm. However Brian Montayne of Electric Ireland advised faults could re-occur if the heavy winds persist. A spokesperson for eircom confirmed that 500 faults were reported as of yesterday afternoon in Donegal. Eircom’s Paul Bradley said the continued bad weather is causing new faults to occur as existing faults are repaired.