January 3rd, 2017
Galway City suffered severe flash flooding yesterday evening as storm Eleanor swept in from the West Coast.
The first storm of 2018 left 134,000 homes, farms and businesses without power overnight, with counties Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, Galway, Cavan and Monaghan hit hardest.
Met Éireann issued two ‘status orange’ weather alerts yesterday, with reports of powerful winds up to 140km/h off the Irish west coast.
The storm hit Galway at around 6pm yesterday evening, causing flash flashing across much of Galway city and Salthill and leaving many roads impassable.
Met Eireann has issued a status orange wind warning for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick until 2pm today.
It said westerly gale to storm winds together with high tides and exceptionally high seas will likely result in coastal damage and flooding. Damaging gusts are also possible inland.
A lower grade yellow status wind warning is in place until 2pm today for Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary and Waterford.
A marine status orange gale warning has also been issued with westerly gale to storm force winds expected today on all coasts and on the Irish Sea, with winds strongest along the Atlantic coast.
In response to the flooding, the Minister with Responsibility for Defense Paul Kehoe launched a humanitarian flooding scheme to be administered by the Irish Red Cross.
Small businesses with less than 20 employees will be eligible for the emergency funding, together with sport clubs and community organisations unable to secure flood insurance. The scheme will begin immediately to provide aid up to €5,000 depending on the scale of the damage caused.
A second stage of the relief scheme will provide additional support for premises that have incurred significant damages exceeding €5,000.
The total level of support available for both stages combined will be capped at €20,000, however, the scheme will not provide any funding for loss of earnings or loss of business goodwill.
Minister Kehoe said: “The humanitarian scheme will go some way to alleviating the hardship suffered by small businesses, sports clubs and community organisations, who have been refused flood insurance, and assist them in getting back up and running”.
The ESB worked through the night and early morning to restore power to the majority of the 134,000 premises who suffered the loss of electricity during the storm.
Fallen trees on overhead lines were responsible for most of the damage to the network. According to the ESB, around 16,000 premises remain without electricity as of noon today.
A further 5,000 customers lost supply this morning in the Midwest due to lightning and high winds. Areas in Kildare, Cork and Kerry are also without power according to the ESB.