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Storm Ophelia batters midlands

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Storm Ophelia batters midlands thumbnailA tree felled by Hurricane Ophelia on the Birr Road leading into Kinnitty on Monday last. Pic by Sean de Cleir.

AS the dust settled after Storm Ophelia swept through the Midlands on Monday last, the county got to grips with the damage caused and counted the cost of the destruction.

Described as one of the most powerful ex-hurricanes to hit the country, people were being asked to continue to exercise extreme caution as a major countywide clean up operation commenced to remove debris, fallen trees and damaged power lines at first light on Tuesday morning last. This was in conjunction with the deployment of resources by the ESB and Irish Water to restore power and water to thousands of homes in areas such as Banagher, Birr, Ferbane and Shinrone.

Tipperary was not spared the wrath of Storm Ophelia, where an intensive clean-up operation, involving 27 crews from Tipperary County Council, started work early on Tuesday morning.

Power cuts hit Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Nenagh and Thurles at approximately 12.30pm on Monday, with power restored to most homes and businesses in the town centres by Tuesday morning. However, many homes on the periphery of Roscrea and the greater Shinrone area remained without power until lunchtime on Tuesday.

Irish Water said it was working to restore water and secure supply for Offaly customers in the wake of Storm Ophelia.

In a statement late on Tuesday afternoon they said "that in County Offaly, there is a power outage at the Glasshouse Water Treatment that supplies Brosna and parts of Shinrone. The water supply to 1,650 customers is affected. We are liaising with the ESB to restore the power supply as soon as possible in order to restore the water supply for customers.

Elsewhere, the Offaly Management Team involving the Gardai, the local authority and the emergency services were busy orchestrating the countywide clean up this week. Speaking to the Tribune, Frank Heslin, Director of Services with Offaly County Council, explained the local authority was on orange alert since Friday last and weren't "expecting to be hit that badly". However, it all kicked into action when Met Eireann extended the red wind warning across the whole country on Sunday night last.

Mr Heslin said the "warning bells went up on Sunday evening and we began to look at what to do next". A meeting was arranged on Monday morning last at 8am and it was decided the best strategy going forward was "for everyone to be off the roads by 11am or 12 noon".

Mr Heslin then advised people to remain vigilant about damaged trees, debris and the large volume of leaves as the clean up continued. "We are asking people to be aware of this," he added. Also working closely with the ESB, Mr Heslin said there were a few areas still without power and where wires were tangled up with trees and until they were disconnected, they couldn't remove the trees. "We are working together with the ESB, the very best we can on this," he continued.

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