Belfast Telegraph

Gale-force winds cause disruption

The north and west bore the brunt of gales, with flash floods, trees brought down and forecasters warning of hurricane-force gusts battering inland.

The high winds peaked in along Atlantic coasts in the evening and were expected to hit the east of the country later.

Motorists were warned to be extremely cautious with cyclists urged to stay off roads, while gardai in the north and west advised drivers to avoid unnecessary journeys especially along coastal routes.

Donegal was hit by flash floods on tributaries of the River Finn with several cars stuck in water which closed the N15 between Ballybofey and Lifford.

A small river burst its banks near the Roadhouse Bar near Ballybofey and the Harry Blaney bridge on Fanad was closed for several hours.

James Foyle, Donegal County Council senior engineer, said the south of the county was worst hit with at least 20 trees brought down. Several trees and branches were reported fallen across Sligo, Mayo and Galway but there were no reports of major damage.

Sligo County Council said County Road 435 would remain closed overnight after a number of trees blocked the road. Meanwhile, in Co Clare, lifeguards reported seas of about 30ft in Kilkee and at Blackhead while there were a small number of trees and telephone poles down.

Fears of flooding along the River Shannon prompted Limerick city officials to put defences along O'Callaghan Strand and Clancy Strand which are expected to remain in place for several days.

Local roads around Athlone were also reportedly hit by bad floods. Chris Reynolds, director of the Irish Coast Guard, urged people to stay away from exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal areas.

ESB later confirmed there were a number of isolated power outages in the north west and mid west, with about 1,400 homes were without power across Galway, Limerick and Athlone. Parts of Killybegs and Castlebar were also affected.

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