Storm warning still in force

Hurricane strength winds battered Donegal and the north west last night with Met Eireann confirming winds of up to 160 kilometres reported at Malin Head.

Hurricane strength winds battered Donegal and the north west last night with Met Eireann confirming winds of up to 160 kilometres reported at Malin Head.

Another weather service provider, Irish Weather Online has issued an alert warning of “hurricane force gusts” to come this morning. Gale Force 6 and 7 winds are forecast to continue throughout the day.

Reports of fallen trees, damaged power lines, road closures and phone service loss across Donegal are widespread, but service providers such as the ESB say they are confident power will be restored to all customers during the course of this morning and afternoon.

At the peak of the storm, between 3am and 6am this morning, 9,000 homes in the north west (Sligo/Donegal) were without power. To put that figure in perspective, 15,000 homes were without power nationally at one stage.

Areas from Malin Head and Gaoth Dobhair to Manorhamilton in north County Leitrim were without power.

In the north west, ESB crews have restored power to 1,500 of the homes without power overnight and are getting to others fairly rapidly as the storm abates. An ESB spokesman told us they were confident that power would be restored to all homes today.

Phone lines were also hit, figures are awaited as yet from service providers but one confirmed that there were as yet unquantified numbers of customers without landline coverage at the moment.

We have reports of countless trees down across county Donegal. The Harry Blaney Bridge in Fanad is closed at the moment while a speed warning reduction system is operating on the Foyle Bridge, but the bridge remains open, contrary to earlier reports that it was closed.

Many roads were blocked by the fallen trees or electricity lines overnight but most of these were cleared by 9am this morning, including the N13, which was partially blocked by a fallen tree at Kilross, between Ballybofey and Letterkenny.

Earlier this morning the main route into Donegal Town was blocked by falling power lines but that has since be re-opened.

Our latest information is that the road between Enniskillen and Belleek remains closed due to a number of fallen trees.

According to the Irish Coastguard Service at Malin Head there are a number of vessels sheltering from the worst of the weather in Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly, but the coastguard have no incidents to deal with at the moment.

High tides times today are 1.07pm at Killybegs, 1.32 at Rathmullan and 2.54 at Moville. A spokesman warned people to be ever vigilant near the coast today.

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