This motorist had a narrow escape in the Ballymachugh area while attempting to travel to work on Monday morning.

Storm Debi hits Cavan hard

ADVICE Homeowners urged to be more proactive ahead of weather events

Homeowners are left counting the cost of Storm Debi this week after it ripped through Cavan in the early hours of Monday morning leaving a trail of destruction.

Gusts reaching 120km per hour caused structural damage, felled trees and downed ESB lines across the country, resulting in power outages and road closures across the country. A number of minor road traffic accidents were also reported.

According to ESB Networks, over 11,300 homes and businesses across County Cavan were left without electricity on Monday morning. Crews worked to restore power to the majority between Monday and Tuesday. However, some 2,500 customers are still without power.

Nationally there were 100,000 homes, farms, and businesses without power, with the west, midlands, and northeast hardest hit.

A statement from the ESB said that they are working to restore electricity supply to all customers.

“All available resources are now deployed as Storm Debi clears the country and ESB Networks crews are currently in the process of assessing damage, making the network safe and repairing electricity supply where safe to do so.”

Nine of Cavan’s 10 fire brigade units attended incidents in the aftermath of the storm. They responded to over 40 incidents, including trees down and flooding.

There were also multiple cases of flooding around the county including at, Shankill Cross, the N3 near Lavey, and Con Smith Park in Cavan.

Storm Debi is the third storm to hit Ireland in quick succession, with each one hitting in different areas.

Insurance claims

Benny Sheridan of Sheridan Insurances said each storm has impacted differently.

“We’ve had storms Babette, Ciaran, and Debi. Ciaran didn’t really affect Ireland too much, with more of an impact on the Channel Islands. Babette hit hardest down south, but also did damage in places like Dundalk where there was damage done to vehicles and property and Debi hit in Cavan, the midlands, northeast and the surrounding counties.”

Mr Sheridan said that, while he’s had a few inquiries, there was relatively little damage done compared to surrounding counties.

“We’ve had a few calls in from the Cavan area with people looking to confirm their cover. Things that concern customers include things like trees falling on roofs, as well as damage to slates and gutters, which wouldn’t be that serious. There hasn’t been any major damage. There are a few cases of shop signs falling off but this could be caused by poor workmanship, but construction standards are quite good, so buildings have held up well.”

Mr Sheridan finds that other extreme weather events cause more damage, particular cold snaps and frost in the Winter.

“We’ve seen that a cold snap can inflict more damage than something like Storm Debi. It can lead to accidents on the roads, with damaged vehicles and personal accidents. If there isn’t adequate insulation or heating in an attic, then it can lead to a burst pipe in the attic and an overflow of water, causing the ceiling to come in,” he revealed.

With more winter storms likely to occur, Mr Sheridan is advising homeowners to protect their homes in the future.

“Anything in the garden such as trampolines or garden furniture should be tied down or put inside to stop them from blowing around the place or doing damage to a passer-by. This storm has also highlighted the importance of property owners doing proper maintenance such as clearing drains and shores.

“Doing proactive maintenance can stop a serious incident from happening. We saw flooding in a shop recently where a shore was blocked up with leaves. Even though the drain was there, it wasn’t effective due to improper use. By doing a little bit of work now, people can save a lot of hassle in the future. The need for proactive maintenance is constant.”