Inishowen escapes worst of Ophelia

Inishowen breathed a collective sigh of relief on Monday night when ex-hurricane Ophelia breezed through without causing the damage that so many had feared.

Map shows the force of Hurricane Ophelia’s winds

While the storm caused sporadic damage across the peninsula and power outages in a few hundred homes, it was nothing like the devastation of the August 22 floods.

Peak gusts of 115km and 104km per hour were recorded at Lough Foyle and Malin Head on Monday night – mercifully much less powerful than the 190km per hour gusts that had wreaked havoc in Munster, Leinster and Connacht earlier in the day.

With a red alert national weather emergency in place, Inishowen was largely deserted from early on Monday afternoon, with Buncrana, Moville and Carn resembling ghost towns: shutters down and no one on the streets.

Schools, shops, banks and businesses were shut, while householders were urged to remain indoors until the worst of Ophelia had passed.

Some 57 homes were left without electricity in Gleneely overnight, while homes in the Quigley’s Point area also lost power but had it restored later on Monday evening.

Donegal County Council roads staff spent much of the day filling sandbags to protect against flooding in the event of the predicted heavy rains, which never really materialised.

Many householders and businesses, whose properties were flooded in August, sandbagged their properties in Carn, Buncrana and elsewhere – but in the end only 9.4mms of rainfall was recorded at the Met Éireann weather station in Malin Head.

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Damian Dowds

Damian studied at NUI Maynooth and worked with Intel Ireland on graduation. Followings stints as a civil servant in Leinster House, and with magazine publisher Ashville Media, he returned to Inishowen to set up the Inishowen Independent in 2007.