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Eleanor's floods, power cuts and blocked roads

January 7th, 2018 3:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Cars surrounded by sea water in Bantry on Tuesday. (Photo: Kevin Higgins)

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ON Tuesday night, Storm Eleanor brought flooding, thunder, lightning, winds of more than 100km per hour, fallen trees, flying debris, and power outages to West Cork.

Roads in coastal areas all the way from World’s End in Kinsale to the quays in Bantry were flooded on Tuesday night when the storm took hold of the county.

A combination of high tides and strong winds from the south east, caused the surface water flooding which lead to traffic disruption and diversions, as well as several parked cars at the quays in Bantry being flooded.

Senior engineers with Cork County Council confirmed that Bantry, Faxsbridge in Clonakilty, Inchydoney, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Kinsale were the worst affected.

There were no reports of any properties, or businesses, being flooded and Council crews – with the support of the local fire brigade services, as well as members of the Garda Síochana – dealt with other storm-related incidents, such the large number of fallen trees that blocked much of the region’s roads network.

Met Éireann’s status ‘orange’ weather warning remained in place until 2pm on Wednesday. The 2pm cut-off meant most coastal regions were not worried about their areas being flooded at high tide at 5.30pm on Wednesday, because there would be no storm surge to exacerbate the situation.

Meanwhile, the ESB confirmed that there were a significant number of power outages throughout West Cork, with the Dunmanway area being the worst affected.

Paul Hand, an ESB spokesperson, 

confirmed that 3,000 households were knocked out on Tuesday night as a result of Storm Eleanor.

This was mostly caused by trees falling on lines, but he said the power to most of these homes was restored on the same night.

There were, however, an additional 2,000 households in West Cork that were knocked out as a result of lightning in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The vast majority of these households have had their power restored, but by mid-afternoon there were still 20 customers in the Ballydehob area without power, plus a further 80 customers in the Dunmanway area, 13 in Glengarriff, and 16 in the Clonakilty area.

On Tuesday night, Bantry Fire Brigade personnel and members of the gardaí were called to the scene of a road traffic accident at Aughaville, between Bantry and Drimoleague.

A spokesperson said it appeared as if the vehicle hit a ditch, went airborne, and ended upside down in a flooded storm drain, but the occupant was able to open the window and get out.

Council crews were out from early on Tuesday afternoon and dealt with the surface water flooding caused by high tides at 4.30pm, but area engineers – such as Ruth O’Brien in Bantry – reported that the risk of flooding was minimised by the fact that there wasn’t heavy rain.

Much of the surface water receded within the hour, with the tide. But the weather conditions worsened during the night and fire brigade personnel in Bantry reported that in addition to the cold, wet, and wind gusts that reached 100kmph, the roads were slippery and covered in debris, such as fallen branches.

A tree at Bantry golf club had blocked three-quarters of the N71 but the crew had it cleared before 2.30am. There was also a tree down between the Ouvane Falls and Pearson’s Bridge, making the road impassable.

In Dunmanway, a fallen tree completely blocked the main road east of the graveyard; and there was another tree down on the Hospital Road, plus a lot of debris on the road about a half mile from Ardcahan Bridge.

A dangerous bend in Bandon – just past the golf club – was also blocked. And on the Bandon to Clonakilty Road, near the Technology Park and Rugby Club, there was a further blockage.

A series of bends at Bealad on the Clonakilty to Dunmanway route was obstructed by a fallen tree and debris, and three miles outside of Clonakilty on the Ballineen Road, there was another tree down.

In Bantry there was a tree down at Cappabue between the national school and the pass of Camania, whilst in Skibbereen there were two trees down – the first was located two miles from Skibbereen hospital on the Bantry side, with the other one mile from Skibbereen on the Ballydehob Road.

Gardaí also reported a tree down on the R595 Skibbereen to Baltimore road at Old Court, as well as a tree down, and power lines affected, on the N71 Skibbereen to Bantry road, approximately 3km from Skibbereen town.

Although all of the roads have been cleared, the actual cost of the damage caused has yet to be determined by Cork County Council.

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