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Man dies in crash involving fallen tree and two vans during height of Storm Isha

A man in his 60s was killed in Northern Ireland in a crash involving two vans and a fallen tree at the height of Storm Isha.

The crash happened in Limavady, Co Londonderry on Sunday as high winds battered the island of Ireland.

The man who died was driving a van that hit the fallen tree and another van on the Broad Road at around 9.45pm. The male driver of the second vehicle was taken to hospital for treatment.

South of the border two people died in road crashes when weather warnings were in place, but gardai have not said whether the storm conditions were the main contributory factor in those crashes.

A man in his 40s died in a single-vehicle crash in Claremorris, Co Mayo at about 6.15pm on Sunday when a status red alert was in place, and while a woman in her 20s, who was a passenger in a van, died after it hit a tree in Carnalogue, Co Louth at 1.50am on Monday.

Winter weather Jan 22nd 2024
Crews from ESB Networks near Galway airport as they repair power lines (Niall Carson/PA).

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough councillor Ashleen Schenning said the community was in shock after the crash in Limavady.

“This has devastated the town,” said the SDLP representative. “To wake up to this news this morning – it has just left the town in shock and devastation.”

Storm Isha caused significant travel disruption and left tens of thousands of homes without power.

As the clean-up began on Monday and repairs were made to power lines, further weather alerts were issued ahead of Storm Jocelyn’s arrival on Tuesday, which forecasters warned could cause further damage to already weakened structures.

The ESB in Ireland said 68,000 homes and businesses remained without power by 8.45pm on Monday, down from 230,000 at its peak, with the worst-hit areas in the north west.

It said crews would work into the night to restore power for remaining customers.

The electricity supply company also said it would use helicopters to assess the damage to the network.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks said the impact was “severe and widespread”.

On Monday afternoon 17,000 customers were still without power, with 53,000 hit by outages at the height of the storm.

Authorities across the island reported fallen trees on roads and urged people not to try to move them as there may be electricity lines tangled within.

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Workmen clear up after a number of trees made famous by the TV series Game Of Thrones came down (Liam McBurney/PA)

A number of trees made famous by the TV series Game Of Thrones were damaged and felled by the storm in Co Antrim.

Work was carried out on Monday to clear up at the Dark Hedges site.

The tunnel of trees became famous when it was featured in the HBO fantasy series and now attracts significant numbers of tourists from around the world.

Dublin Airport said winds had eased and flights on Monday continued “without restrictions”, but because of delays caused by Storm Isha, 29 flights in and out of Dublin had been cancelled on Monday.

There was disruption for hundreds of passengers due to land at airports on the island on Sunday, with several flights that were unable to touch down being rerouted to Great Britain and even continental Europe.

The Road Safety Authority of Ireland advised all road users to be aware of the dangers after the storm passed as there may be hazardous conditions such as flooded roads and downed pylons, lines, trees and other debris on roads.

A status yellow wind warning is in place for counties Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Leitrim and Sligo until 7pm, and further status yellow wind warnings are in place for the entire island on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

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A tree branch fell on a car on Lisburn Road, Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA).

Very strong winds are expected in these areas, which can lead to large coastal waves, difficult travelling conditions and objects becoming loose and displaced.

In Northern Ireland, a yellow wind warning remained in place for all counties until noon on Monday.

A woman from Co Down said the storm had brought “the worst damage we’ve seen in this area” after a row of five trees were felled in front of her house.

Lisa Wilton, 47, posted a video of the fallen trees on X, formerly Twitter, showing the large trunks spanning the width of her driveway where they had uprooted and toppled over.

Ms Wilton, a user researcher in software design, told the PA news agency: “It’s the worst damage we’ve seen in this area. We’re just glad nobody was hurt and the house and car are OK.

“We can’t get the car out at all so we’ll be unable to go anywhere. Luckily I work from home but we’ll definitely need quite a lot of chainsaw work out there.”

She added: “We looked outside last night and spotted a gap in the tree line. I went with the torch to see if we had lost a tree but couldn’t believe the whole row of five trees had gone.”

On Tuesday, Storm Jocelyn will bring further risk of large waves along coastal areas, difficult travelling conditions, fallen trees, damage to power lines, and possible damage to already weakened structures.

Met Eireann status orange warnings will be in place on Tuesday from 6pm until midnight for Galway and Mayo, and from 6pm on Tuesday until 2am on Wednesday for Donegal.

Status yellow warnings are in place for all other counties in Ireland from Tuesday afternoon until the early hours of Wednesday.

In Northern Ireland, yellow wind warnings will be in place for counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Derry, with strong winds expected from 4pm on Tuesday until noon on Wednesday.