Dennis brings tornado to Ballydehob and ‘rocks’ the Fastnet!

February 23rd, 2020 9:50 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Storm Dennis waves breaking over Tragumna’s sea wall last February. More high seas are predicted for this weekend. (Photo: Andrew Harris)

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STORM Dennis might have blown a ghost ship ashore in Ballycotton, but in West Cork, it blew a mini tornado into Ballydehob, and even appeared to miraculously cause the Fastnet lighthouse to dance.

Residents of Skeaghanore near Ballydehob reported seeing a ‘whirlwind’ last  Wednesday, which came right in between storms Ciara and Dennis.

Local Southern Star correspondent Noel Coakley said it caused some damage to three houses, and, in one case, lifted the slates off a roof, resulting in them hitting, and extensively damaging, a parked car.

The whirlwind also put in a brief but intense appearance as it moved through the main street of the village of Ballydehob at about 10pm on Wednesday, February 12th.

In Beara, photographer Niall Duffy captured images of the Dursey Cable car swaying frantically in its holding dock, while, in Bantry, local photographer Denis Connolly took a video of a sign for the Wild Atlantic Way clattering like wind in the riggings.

While The New York Times picked up on the ghost ship story, Mary Cadogan, the bus driver on Cape Clear island, became  something of an internet sensation after her video of the ‘moving’ Fastnet lighthouse went viral.

Her video on Sky News earned Mary lots of new followers on Twitter after they ran the footage of the ‘dancing’ lighthouse.

Mary told The Southern Star she was sitting in her car on Sunday, with the window open, and her camera zoomed in on the lighthouse when she captured the image.

She said: ‘I was facing into the wind. It was definitely the wind hitting the lens that gave the illusion that the lighthouse was moving.’ She said the video will be good in terms of promoting the island and ‘good, too, for Fastnet tourism in the summertime.’

Storm Dennis, the fourth storm of the season, was a three-day weather event – starting on Saturday – that came with a Status Orange weather warning. It brought very wet and windy weather, storm surges, and some severe and damaging gusts of up to 120 km/h an hour on exposed coasts.

It caused power outages in Riverstick, Carrigaline, Timoleague, Glengarriff and Ballyvourney and at the peak of the storm on Sunday, an estimated 6,500 customers in West Cork were without power. However, most had power restored that same night.

From 7am on Saturday to 7am on Monday, Cork County Council crews handled 80 call-outs, half of which related to road issues such as fallen trees and major debris on the roads – eight of which were in West Cork.


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