County Clare has escaped the worst of the winds from Storm Rachel as Met Éireann downgraded its Red Alert to Orange on Thursday morning.
Despite Met Éireann yesterday warning of wind speeds gusting to between 130kp/hr and 150km/hr, there have been few reports of disruption across the County.
Met Éireann says southwest winds will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with gusts of 110 to 120 km/h at times, highest in exposed areas. Winds will veer westerly later.
Clare County Council says there are “no significant incidents” to report from arising from the stormy weather.
The Local Co-ordination Group, comprising the principal response agencies in County Clare, met again at Áras Contae and Chláir in Ennis at 9am today.
A decision was made to discontinue the operation of the Emergency Helpline, which was established on Wednesday evening in response to Met Éireann’s issuing of a Red Alert for strong winds. However, the situation will remain under review throughout the day.
The Emergency Helpline received 13 calls between 8pm Wednesday and 8am Thursday. Reports relating to road flooding in Ennistymon, Crusheen, Kilnamona and Dysart, and a felled tree partially blocking a road in Killaloe were recorded and responded to accordingly.
The storm has promoted the closure of a number of Clare schools after the Department of Education said schools should consider not opening where a Status Red weather warning related to wind is forecast (see The Clare Herald Facebook Page for the latest list of closed schools).
Meanwhile, there have been some power outages across Clare. 81 customers are without electricity in Kilfabory, between Lahinch and Ennistymon. 191 households are also without power in the Bellharbour area, while a further 23 are waiting reconnection north of Lisdoonvarna. Nationally, the ESB says an estimated 17,000 homes and businesses are without supply this morning, with over 280 individual faults. See powercheck.ie for the latest outages.
In Limerick, a jeep was hit by a tree near Anglesborough and a man was brought to hospital at around 11pm last night. A large electronic PGS (parking guidance sign) was blown over in Lower Mallow Street, also around 11pm last night but no one was injured.
Clare has been battered by a number of storms during the past year, the worst of which occured on February 12th when Storm Darwin downed thousands of trees and caused days of power cuts for much of the County. Shannon Airport recorded the highest gust in Ireland on this date. The 86 knot (159 km/h) gust was recorded on 12th February in Shannon, its highest February gust on record (since 1945) and its highest annual gust since 1961 (53 years).
Meanwhile, much of County Clare experienced snowfall on Tuesday night and early Wednesday (click here to view snow pictures).
Colder conditions returned overnight and are expected to continue into late nextweek with further falls of hail and sleet likely, with snow on higher ground.
According to Met Éireann: “While Sunday next will continue quite cold, winds will ease down steadily and showers will tend to die out. A hard frost will set in for a time on Sunday night but rain, preceded by sleet and snow, is likely to develop in the south and west of the country later. A mixture of rain, sleet and snow will then spread countrywide during Monday, and there may be a risk of significant accumulations of snow further east and north eventually. Generally cold conditions seem set to persist well into next week, with further threats of snowfall from time to time. “
According to Irish Weather Online forecaster Peter O’Donnell: “FRIDAY to SUNDAY will be a bright, cold period with occasional passing wintry showers, some risk of accumulations of 1-3 cm snow on hills in northern counties and in higher inland parts of west Munster. Highs each day around 3 to 6 C and overnight lows -4 to +1 C.
MONDAY to WEDNESDAY looks more unsettled and guidance is somewhat unclear on temperature trend but there is certainly a risk of heavier accumulations of snow in the period, possibly mixing in southwest with rain, but also some chance of mixed forms of precipitation in other regions. Temperatures will probably not stray too far from the range of -1 to +3 C,” said O’Donnell.