Ophelia leaves her mark in Cork with 90,000 homes still without power

Ophelia leaves her mark in Cork with 90,000 homes still without power
ESB Networks staff at the scene of fallen trees on Centre Park Road. Pic; Larry Cummins

MORE than 90,000 Cork households were without power today as ex-Hurricane Ophelia left her mark throughout the city and county.

The ESB has warned it could take up to five days to fully restore power nationwide.

More than 700 staff were working in Cork city and county from first light today, tackling blocked roads, fallen trees and other issues facing the people of the region.

However, the full extent of the damage is not expected to be known for a few days.

Ruth Buckley, acting chief executive of Cork City Council, said they expect to be ‘inundated’ with calls as people uncover the full impact of the worst storm to hit Ireland in half a century.

“We have never seen anything at this level,” she said. “We are looking at the bones of a week for the recovery effort. We haven’t even began to look at the cost — we are just trying to restore normality to people.”

She said 150 trees had fallen in the city, blocking essential roads and posing major issues. Strong winds and power cuts yesterday evening slowed down the response effort.

Fallen fencing Knocknaheeny. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Fallen fencing Knocknaheeny. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The same issues can be found in Cork County, where more than 400 staff are working to restore normality.

Tim Lucey, chief executive of Cork County Council, said the focus was on opening national and local roads. He said they face a huge task.

“We are aware of the issues on the main and regional roads. With the number of trees down around the county, there are likely to be a couple of hundred road closures,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have a full assessment of the impact for 48 hours, at least. We haven’t had anyone near the coastline yet because the wind speeds were still so strong. The coastal damage could take two or three days to assess.”

The weather station on Fastnet Lighthouse recorded a peak wind gust of 103kts or 190km per hour yesterday.

The impact left hundreds of trees uprooted, dozens of roads closed and considerable damage to a number of buildings in the city and county.

Advertising hoarding is ripped off during Storm Ophelia near Kent Station. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Advertising hoarding is ripped off during Storm Ophelia near Kent Station. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Douglas Community School saw its gym roof torn off, while Turner’s Cross saw major damage to one of its stands. Homes in Knocknaheeny were badly hit, while Centre Park Road lost close to 20 trees, blocking the road off.

While schools have remained closed today, many other services and businesses are picking themselves back up and operating as normal.

Gardaí are warning motorists to take extra care on the roads today, adding that downed trees, loose branches, electrical wires and other issues still pose a major risk.

This morning, a car hit a downed tree on the L3627 from Churchtown to Mogeely. While there were no injuries reported at the time, the road was blocked, with gardaí fearful that more accidents were likely throughout the day.

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