Thousands without power as Storm Frank bears down on the nation

This NASA satellite mosaic image shows a huge winter storm, Frank over Ireland. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
This NASA satellite mosaic image shows a huge winter storm, Frank over Ireland. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Thousands without power as Storm Frank bears down on the nation

Thousands of homes throughout Ireland are without power as Storm Frank bears down on the nation.

2,396 ESB customers lost power in Westport between 3pm and 4pm, and ESB Networks engineers are working to restore power in the next few hours.

Almost 1,000 homes in Bundoran, Co Donegal have also lost power as winds gusting up to 120km/h have hit the south of the county.

More than 1,600 homes in Enniscrone, Co Sligo, have had power cut as have 65 customers in Mullaghmore.

Around 300 homes in Tipperary, Cork and Kerry lost power earlier today.

Driving conditions are worsening with some roads treacherous or totally impassable.

In Roscommon, local divers had to intervene after a car was blown into the River Shannon.

It is understood the car’s handbrake was not engaged and a gust of wind forced the car into the river.

In Carlow, Leighlin Road is closed at Lanigan's Lough.

In Cavan, the N3 Dublin/ Cavan Rd is blocked by flooding northbound after Virginia at Aughareena. John Paul Avenue is also reportedly impassable with flooding towards the Dublin Road (R212) junction.

In Cork, the Lee Road is closed again due to flooding and there is also spot flooding around Carrigrohane, according to AA Roadwatch. The Ballea Road (R613) is flooded in Carrigaline and diversions are in place.

The Fermoy/ Watergrasshill Rd (R639) is also impassable between Castlelyons and Leary's Cross.

Crookstown village in Cork is also impassable.

In Donegal, the Harry Blaney Bridge over Mulroy Bay is closed until 3am tomorrow due to high winds.

The main road between Stranorlar and Lifford is impassable at several locations.

In Kerry, the Kilorglin to Killarney N72 route was also badly flooded.

In Kilkenny, the Kilkenny/ New Ross Rd (R700) is currently impassable at Inistioge.

Bleech Road in Kilkenny city is also closed following flooding.

In Leitrim, while flood waters subsided in Carrick-on-Shannon, restrictions closed part of the N4 at the Shannonside retail park, with diversions causing long delays.

In and around Leitrim village, flood waters also closed a number of routes.

In Longford, Ardagh Road (R393) is closed both ways at Black Bridge due to flooding, while many road around Newtowncashel are also closed.

In Mayo, the Ballinrobe/ Glencorrib Road (R334) is closed at The Neale and Cross.

In Roscommon, the Tulsk/ Castleplunket Road (R367) and the Castlrea/ Castleplunket Road are both impassable.

In Thomastown, Co Kilkenny the Quay and Marshes Street (Station Rd) are both impassable, as is the Old Waterford/ Dublin Rd (R448) between Thomastown and Gowran at Kilfane.

In Tipperary,  the N65 Portumna/ Borrisokane Road is closed on the Portumna side of Carrigahorig. Both Convent ROAd and Old Bridge in Clonmel town are closed due to flooding.

In Waterford/ Tipperary, the Lemybrien/ Carrick-On-Suir Road (R676) is impassable near Mahon Falls.

In Westmeath, the old Longford Road in Mullingar at Cullion Fish Farm is impassable.

Footage shot by Tracy O'Toole (@tracyotoole1) of a waterfall being blown the wrong way by storm winds.

Didn't think much of #StormFrank until I saw what it was doing to the Glencar Waterfall. #defyinggravity

— Tracy (@tracyotoole1) December 29, 2015

Met Eireann have issued four weather warnings so far. 

A Status Orange wind warning is in place for Wind Warning for Wexford, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Waterford.

With wind speeds averaging 65kph to 80kph, there will also be severe gusts of 100 to 120 kph, strongest in coastal areas.

Perhaps even more of an issue will be the second warning, a Status Orange rain warning.

Entire communities along the River Shannon have been told to stay indoors if at all possible.

Over 24 hours, from midday today, Wicklow, Galway, Cork, Kerry and Waterford have been warned to expect between 40 and 70mm of rain.

Other areas won't escape either, as two Status Yellow warning were also issued.

Winds in Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford will gust up to 109kph from midday today.

Rain will also be heavy in Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan, Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Leitrim, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and all Leinster except Wicklow.

They have been issued a Status Yellow warning of 25 to 40mm of rain over 24 hours from midday today.

There are fears that water levels on the River Shannon could rise by up to 100mm by Wednesday, if the rainfall from Storm Frank proves exceptionally heavy.

Meanwhile, members of the public have been told to stay away from at-risk coastal areas following wind warnings.

Locations close to seafronts, such as piers or coastal walks, should be strictly avoided over the next 48 hours, according to the authorities.

Irish Coast Guard director, Chris Reynolds, said the high waters are breaking over pier walls, and he stressed high-risk areas should especially be avoided by parents with younger children. Met Éireann has confirmed a status yellow weather warning is in place today. Winds are expected to occasionally reach strong gale force between Mizen Head and Erris Head.

Speaking at a press conference held by the National Emergency Coordination Group, Jim Casey from the Office of Public Works said water levels may exceed the levels experienced during the height of Storm Desmond.

He stressed that with the exception of in the Upper Shannon catchment, levels are rising in all other parts of the river. The country now faces a "severe flood situation", especially along the Shannon catchment area.

Mr Casey said all low-lying areas along the Shannon catchment are at risk.

"The impact will be less in areas which have defences in place, than in other areas that don't have defences," he told the Irish Independent.

"Levels are currently rising, and efforts will have to continue in those places currently affected, to maintain relevant temporary defences.

"This approach will have to continue for some time yet - perhaps for a matter of weeks."

Galway City Council has closed the promenade in Salthill today from midday and racing at Limerick Racecourse was cancelled due to waterlogging. 

Via Irish Independent