Storm Gertrude hits north west

The weather pattern as depicted on the Met Office website

The weather pattern as depicted on the Met Office website

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Thousands of homes and businesses across Ireland have been left without power by Storm Gertrude.

Among the worst affected areas were Stranorlar in Co Donegal and Killeshandra in Co Cavan, where almost 3,000 properties suffered blackouts.

Outages were also reported in Wicklow, Westport, parts of Dublin, Athenry, Cong, Co Mayo, Roscommon, Limerick, Kerry and Wexford.

In the north, about 5,000 customers were left without power. The Atlantic storm system brought winds gusting up to 81mph (130kph).

ESB Networks was posting updates on outages on powercheck.ie as reports of damage continued to come in.

Two bridges in the north west - the Blaney and Foyle in Donegal and Derry - were closed due to the high winds.

AA Roadwatch carried a series of reports of trees down on roads across the country. The main Letterkenny Road in Derry has been closed to traffic following a fallen tree

NIE Networks said it had reports of trees down across power lines and broken electricity poles.

While the worst of the near-hurricane force winds were expected to ease as the day goes on, forecasters warned of persistent severe gusts and heavy rain.

NIE Networks said the worst-hit areas in Northern Ireland were in Tyrone, Derry and Antrim.

Julia Carson, NIE Networks communications manager, said: “We have been in regular contact with the Met Office and had mobilised NIE Networks emergency crews, engineers and call handlers in preparation for any damage the severe weather may cause.

“We have already restored power to 7,500 customers overnight and are continuing to assess the damage and carry out repairs.”