Storm Eleanor hits Ireland, Galway experienced unprecedented floods, 55 000 without power

Storm Eleanor hit Ireland late Tuesday, January 2, 2018, producing extremely windy and stormy conditions across much of the country into Wednesday, January 3.

Although some effects of Eleanor are still being felt in the country, a major clean-up is underway in parts of the country after the storm caused severe damage overnight. Officials said around 55 000 homes were left without electricity while the west coast suffered widespread flooding.

In addition to heavy rain, strong winds downed trees and power lines, causing damage to homes and businesses. The strongest gusts were measured at Knock Airport at 155 km/h (96 mph).

The city of Galway experienced what officials described as ‘unprecedented’ and unexpected levels of flood waters. 

After being criticized for lack of flooding protection, Galway City Council said it prepared the city and its residents for high winds and high tides, but what came last night wasn’t predicted.

“We believe there were significantly higher levels of water out in the bay which, combined with the high tides and the storm surges, the wind speed and its direction and the low barometric pressure, basically confounded at 5.30pm at high tide,” communications officer for Galway City Council Gary McMahon said.

Within minutes, as a surge of water broke the banks and Galway City was flooded with water.

“While Galway escaped further flooding this morning at high tide, a number of roads may be closed off in anticipation of any flooding that may occur during this evening’s hide tide,” McMahon said.

Status Orange Wind Warning is in effect for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. Status Yellow Wind Warning is in effect for Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary and Waterford. Both warnings should expire 14:00 local time today.

Met Eireann said extremely windy with stormy conditions are expected in parts of the West this morning. A combination of high tides and exceptionally high seas will result in coastal damage and further flooding. Sunny spells and squally heavy thundery downpours are expected too, with the risk of local surface flooding inland. Winds will moderate through the afternoon and evening. Highest temperatures expected are between 7 and 10 °C (44 – 50 °F).

Showers will continue in the north this evening, with heavy rain moving up from the southwest, extending countrywide overnight. Some falls of sleet are possible further north. Extremely windy or possibly stormy conditions are expected later along Munster coasts with the risk of coastal flooding.

Featured image: Floods in Galway, Ireland on January 3, 2018. Credit: Edna Cunningham

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