Update from the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather - 2.45pm

Published on Saturday, 21 Oct 2017
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Introduction
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, as the Lead Government Department for the response to severe weather, has been monitoring the impact of Storm Brian which is crossing the country, as well as the on-going  work of restoration of services in the aftermath of Ophelia.

We have been liaising with forecasting services in both Met Éireann and the OPW.  We have received reports on the conditions from local authorities in the coastal areas which have been impacted most by Storm Brian and also from the Transport sector. We are linked in with the infrastructure providers who have been working flat out to reconnect as many customers as possible to their networks before the difficult conditions.

Current Situation
The Chair of the National Emergency Coordination Group, Mr Sean Hogan, today said:

“We are certainly having the wet and windy week-end which was forecast. There are still both Orange and Yellow wind warnings in place from Met Éireann for the second half of the day. The rainfall is not finished but the extent of damage, flooding and disruption has been limited and in line with expectations for this type of Atlantic storm.

Local authorities have been dealing principally with spot flooding on local roads and some regionals roads. While local Severe Weather Assessment Teams will continue to monitor the situation in those areas identified as being subject to the worst conditions by Storm Brian, essentially, local authorities are now dealing with issues through normal emergency response arrangements.”

Transport services are all operating with small number of disruptions. Some ferries were cancelled. Patrols have been out on the motorway network and there have been no weather related incidents encountered overnight or this morning. There has been no flooding nor are there any fallen trees. Driving conditions however are affected by Storm Brian and drivers are advised to exercise caution in line with local conditions. There are some closures on roads due to local flooding, most notably including part of the N72.  

Flooding Threat
With regard to further flooding, there are no concerns currently for sea levels or high tides on South, South-West,  North-West or West coast. High water on the Shannon Estuary passed at circa 7.00 hrs this morning, with minor flooding on roads. No further risk is anticipated from sea levels as the surge associated with Storm Brian has passed

High water is occurring on the East coast today at circa 13.00 hrs, and whilst we are not expecting flooding, the situation is being monitored closely.

In addition to the wind warnings, there is a Met Éireann yellow level rainfall warning in place until 21.00 hrs this evening from Donegal to Waterford with between 30 - 50mm rain forecast over a 24-hour period. However the EFAS flood forecasting system for larger river catchments is not currently showing any major river flooding concerns.

ESB Networks
The ESB Networks have provided us with a further update on their work on Storm Ophelia Power Restoration at 12.15 hrs today (Sat. 21 October).

Yesterday evening, ESB Networks crews restored power to a further 8,000 homes, farms and businesses, bringing total reconnected to 356,000 customers. Work to restore the remaining 22,000 customers is taking place in difficult conditions, with crews working field by field, tree by tree and pole by pole to connect those still without supply, with Wexford and Cork remaining the worst affected counties. ESB Networks’ own crews are being assisted by contractors and crews from NIE Networks, French EDF and other overseas utilities. Defence Forces personnel have also been assisting these efforts.

Storm Brian hampered the restoration effort in many areas with high winds and driving rain affecting progress. There are some new faults arising from Storm Brian, currently these are small in number, and the total number without power remains at 22,000.

Storm Brian will continue to affect restoration efforts today, as high winds require crews to cease work in some locations. Work is continuing where it is safe to do so.

The key safety message of “Stay Safe, Stay Clear of overhead lines” still pertains and any damage to the electricity network should be reported to 1850 372 999.

As electricity supplies are reconnected, the 2,300 people still without public water supplies on 27 small schemes will be restored also as will those with their own wells.

Water has been restored to 106,700 customers, down from the peak of 109,000.

Defence Forces
Defence Forces members assisted local authorities with the preparation of flood defences at several locations yesterday evening. They are also providing accommodation for approximately 100 of the Overseas Power Line Crews in Kilworth Camp, in North Cork. On behalf of the Government, Minister Kehoe met the French crews who arrived yesterday afternoon in Rosslare, to express the Government's appreciation for their assistance to the response to Ophelia.

Conclusion
The public are asked to continue to check on vulnerable and isolated neighbours. If they need to make contact with services please assist them utilising the phone numbers that have been publicised.

On behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management will continue to monitor the weather situation and restoration effort and will initiate any further actions that are deemed necessary.

People should continue to exercise normal caution, appropriate to the weather conditions in the part of the country you are in. 

ENDS