Recovery operations are under way after Storm Debi swept across Ireland, forcing some schools to close and disrupting public transport services.
A woman was taken to hospital after being hit by flying debris in Limerick, as the storm also brought coastal flooding and widespread power outages across Ireland.
The majority of the country was placed under red and orange wind warnings on Monday as Irish forecaster Met Eireann warned of “severe and damaging gusts”, with the last of the warnings lifting by 3pm.
With all weather warnings now expired, the focus turned to clearing roads of debris, reconnecting the 70,000 homes and businesses left without power and helping those hit by flooding.
An Irish Government scheme to support people living in homes affected by severe weather has been extended following flooding in Galway city and nearby Oranmore.
One Galway businessman told the PA news agency that “unthinkable” flooding damage done to his business could cost between 500,000 and 700,000 euro to fix.
“The people are devastated. There is no flood defence, this could happen in two weeks’ time if we get another bad storm, until something is done about it,” he said.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is sorry to hear about the impact of Storm Debi on parts of Ireland, adding it is the Government’s intention to expand a support scheme for businesses affected by the severe weather on Monday.
Mr Varadkar said: “I’m really sorry to hear about the impact of the severe weather around the country. I know it’s been particularly hard in Galway – both in the city and the county area.”
He said the enterprise support scheme, which was introduced following flooding in Midleton last month, has to go through a formal Government decision to be expanded to Galway, but added this is “really just a formality”.
“We really want to help businesses get back on their feet, particularly so close to Christmas, which is such an important time for the retail sector and the hospitality sector in particular.”
Storm surge knocked over a sea wall and a boat was washed off moorings in Oranmore, while a gust of 115kph was recorded on Monday morning at a Met Eireann weather station in Athenry, Co Galway.
Downed trees and flooding were reported in Co Cavan while Louth County Council also recorded fallen power lines.
Fire crews in Meath responded to a number of incidents involving vehicles and fallen trees but reported no injuries.
Crews from ESB Networks have been mobilised since early this morning and have restored electricity to over 65,000 customers. Teams continue to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.Visit https://t.co/GXyuew8I9W for outage information and estimated restoration times. pic.twitter.com/DYWK3Kzt1I
— ESB Networks (@ESBNetworks) November 13, 2023
The ESB (Electricity Supply Board) said it would have to work late through the night to return power to some areas, after more than 100,000 homes and businesses were without electricity at the peak of outages on Monday morning.
By Monday evening, around 34,000 remained without power.
ESB said all available resources were deployed and staff will work late into the night to restore the supply to as many customers as possible.
However, they said some areas of Athlone, Cavan, Drogheda, Dundalk, Longford, Mullingar and Tuam will remain without power overnight.
“ESB Networks crews will mobilise again at first light tomorrow to restore power to all remaining customers,” they added.
An Irish postwoman was taken to hospital after being hit by flying debris in Co Limerick, according to the postal service, but was not seriously injured.
An Post adjusted schedules due to the storm and deliveries in the north, midlands, south and east of the country were delayed due to road conditions and power outages.
The weather also caused disruption to early morning flights at Dublin Airport, while commuters in the city saw cancellations on a number of services.
Dublin Bus and Luas tram services have resumed in the city after being axed before 10am due to the storm.
The bus service operator advised services were returning on a phased basis with further disruption possible.
A speed restriction of 50kph was put in place across the entire Irish Rail network as a precaution on Monday morning.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme will also be extended to other affected areas as required.
Ms Humphreys said: “I’m very conscious of the serious disruption that severe weather and flooding is causing for individuals and families in County Galway, especially in Oranmore and parts of Galway City.”
Junior minister Patrick O’Donovan asked people to leave fallen trees on roads and paths to local authorities and ESB workers.
“The warning really to people that are going to go out on the roads is to stay away from trees because they could be very easily entangled with power lines and there is other risks associated with trees,” he told RTE Radio.
This is the fourth storm to affect Ireland since September, after Storms Babet and Ciaran left shops and homes in Midleton, Carlingford and Newry as well as elsewhere flooded after intense rainfall.
The Irish national director for fire and emergency management said Storm Debi is “probably the most intense storm” of the season so far.
Keith Leonard said: “It was probably the high winds of that leading edge of the storm as it came across the country that was the most hazardous piece.
“So probably the most intense storm we’ve had so far in the season.”
Yellow wind and rain warnings were in place in Northern Ireland on Monday, with amber warnings issued for counties Down and Armagh.
Some roads flooded and public transport services were disrupted, with around 2,000 customers left without power, mainly around Craigavon, Newry and Downpatrick.