Tipperary is counting the cost this morning after Hurricane Ophelia battered the country on Monday.
The county's Major Emergency Team, involving emergency services and council staff, is orchestrating the response and clean-up after the deadly storm. Dozens of roads are blocked or partially blocked in Tipperary as staff deal with loose power cables, fallen trees and debris from damaged property.
"Please be extremely vigilant if you are out and about in the coming days as trees, electrical power lines and other structures may be insecure and hazardous. People should be particularly careful around farm yards, warehouses, industrial areas and derelict buildings," officials warned.
Over 10,000 homes remained without power across County Tipperary today, with areas around Cashel, Tipp Town, Clonmel, Kilfeacle and Cappawhite particularly badly hit.
There was a significant impact on the vast majority of health and social care services in county Tipperary, the HSE announced, and some disruption is likely over the coming days due to a number of factors including road conditions, building damage, power outages and disruption to full staffing levels. Consequently, we can expect a gradual return to normal services over the next few days. Due to cancelled appointments over the past 24 hours and a subsequent “catch-up” period required, people can expect some delays in their appointments and discharges from hospitals over the next few days. In the event of a cancellation, people will be contacted by the relevant service. The safety of patients and clients travelling at this time is paramount. In the event that patients or clients deem it unsafe to travel for an appointment, the service concerned will reschedule this appointment as quickly as possible. Community services’ primary focus will be on dealing with the most vulnerable patients and clients in the first instance. This includes discharging elderly patients, whose discharge may have been delayed due to the weather, to the most appropriate facilities as quickly as possible. Regarding Acute Hospital services, the intent is to restore all services over the coming days. It is anticipated that outpatient services will be fully provided tomorrow with a small number of exceptions. Unfortunately, given the impact of the weather on the hospitals over the past number of hours it may be necessary to cancel some elective surgery tomorrow. Urgent procedures will be protected and these cases will be prioritised. Should any appointments be cancelled tomorrow, hospitals will be in contact with those affected. Subject to checking on safe access via roads etc., ensuring everyone's safety and allowing for other availablities on the day, Oupatient appointments will proceed as scheduled at South Tipperary General Hospital. Patients who are scheduled to have a planned procedure today Tuesday 17th October should proceed - subject to the above cited consideration regarding safe access via roads etc., ensuring everyone's safety and allowing for other availability on the day. Please note, if patients are unable to make their appointment, their appointment will be rescheduled accordingly. Tel: South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel at (052) 617 7000.
Meanwhile, the Operational Planning and Emergency Manager at Irish Water, Katherine Walshe, said around 92 schemes are at risk, serving 360,000 people, if power is not restored in some areas before lunchtime. "This impacts customers where storage isn't available in the reservoirs or where the water quality cannot be guaranteed," she said. This issue is predominantly affecting the south of the country, although there are reported water outages locally throughout the country. Burst water mains also pose a flooding risk in local areas. Find out more on www.water.ie.
On the transport front, most services, including Irish Rail and Bus Eireann, have resumed, but they are warning of running delays caused by fallen trees and lines on routes. They have urged people to check with their provider before travelling and to expect delays as the clean-up continues. A number of Irish Rail services, mostly between Galway, Limerick and Dublin, are running at reduced capacity. The Luas remains out of action until 12pm today when a meeting will be held to discuss its return to service. Hundreds of flights were cancelled yesterday but Dublin Airport is now running a full service, although passengers are advised to check with their airline before travelling to the terminal. The road connecting Cashel to Golden was still closed this Tuesday due to downed trees and electrical lines. Please take care and use a different route.
Risk of Flooding
The timing of the storm on Monday coincided with low tides in most areas, reducing the risk of serious flooding. There is issues with flooding locally due to burst water mains and pipes, but coastal flooding has not become a problem as a result of Hurricane Ophelia. Caution is advised in those areas with sitting water on some roads and walking routes.
Schools & Colleges
The Department of Education took the decision on Monday evening to keep schools closed again on Tuesday. This decision caused widespread disruption to parents who were due back at work, but the Department justified the call by suggesting it gives schools a chance to assess the damage/power/water situation before taking in hundreds of children. It is expected that 90% of schools will re-open on Wednesday but parents are urged to check with their child's school before travelling. Structural damage has been caused to some school buildings, mostly in the South West, posing a potential health and safety risk to pupils and staff. Most third level colleges opened on Tuesday and are now set to remain open in the long-term without disruption.
The Irish Times reported on Tuesday morning that Ireland may yet suffer more stormy conditions at the weekend. Weather charts show that Storm Brian is tracking towards Ireland and the UK, bringing with it winds of up to 140km/h. You can keep up to date with all weather updates and warning on www.met.ie.