Ireland weather: Wind turbine on fire off the coast of Wicklow after lightning struck as thunder and heavy rain hit the country

A wind turbine smolders off the coast of Wicklow after being struck by lightning as thunderstorms battered Ireland.

he wind turbine, some 10km off the coast of Arklow, caught fire today after being struck by lightning.

A spokesman for GE Renewable Energy, the operator of Arklow Wind Bank, said: “An offshore wind turbine event was reported on 19 October 2022 at Arklow Bank offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea.

“There were no injuries. The Coast Guard has been notified. As soon as weather conditions permit and we can safely access the site, we will begin work to determine the cause of this event.”

A spokesman for the Irish Coastguard confirmed they had responded to reports of the fire, which began circulating around 12.30pm.

The fire is said to have since been extinguished, although the turbine is still smoldering, with reports saying no personnel were on the 3.6-megawatt wind turbine when it was hit and there was no danger to life.

Twitter user Amy Kinsella shared how her father photographed the smoldering turbine from their family home in Co Wicklow.

It has been reported that the owners/operators of the turbine, GE Energy, have decided to let the fire run its course.

Meanwhile, ESB reports that nearly 500 customers in the Arklow area are currently without power as storm conditions continue. Service is expected to be restored after 4pm today.

Met Éireann this afternoon issued a status orange thunderstorm warning for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow, the second highest alert level, urging the public to “be prepared”.

“Further thunderstorms with intense lightning strikes with some interruptions,” the meteorologist warned, with the alarm remaining in place until 5 p.m.

A status orange rain warning remains in place for three counties – Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow – this afternoon and will be in effect until midnight.

Meanwhile, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Cavan, Monaghan, Cork, Kerry and Tipperary are all on an amber rain warning. According to Met Éireann, it will also remain in place until midnight.

The public have been advised to prepare for localized flooding and disruption as Met Éireann previously issued orange rain warnings with Status Orange for five counties today – Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow, and Yellow Warnings for 11 others – Cavan, Monaghan – had set up. Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Meath, Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly and Tipperary.

Heavy sustained downpours fell in many areas, with even the roof of the Dáil leaking this afternoon.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Liveline, TD Cathal Crowe, who tweeted the video, joked that there had been many leaks in the Dáil but never one with water.

“So it’s pouring rain on some of the front benches at the moment…I don’t have a lot of hair on my head anymore, but I was concerned that the mic might shock,” he said.

“We have had many leaks around the Dáil but this is the first water leak we have had.”

“While we were debating we could see it flashing with lightning as there was a pretty nasty storm brewing outside… There’s a big glass dome on top [the roof] and that’s where the water comes from… Hopefully they patch that up with some duct tape and get us running again.”

Flooding hit Greystones, Co. Wicklow this morning, with motorists being advised to avoid the town’s main thoroughfare where traffic is at a standstill.

Heavy rain is expected today and tomorrow, with the possibility of thunderstorms causing local flooding and likely disruption in areas covered by the orange alert, which will last until midnight today, the forecaster said.

Residents of areas covered by the yellow warning, which is also in effect until midnight, are being told there will be heavy rain today, with possible thunderstorms which will also cause local flooding and some disruption.

There is also a small boat status warning in yellow for all coasts until 7am tomorrow, with winds increasing from the southeast to the east and at times reaching force six or higher.

Met Éireann meteorologist Aoife Kealy said the rain will be the heaviest in the counties under the status orange warning.

“The rain was coming from the south overnight so there have already been some pretty heavy falls, particularly in those southern counties,” she told RTÉ Tomorrow Ireland.

“As we move through today, many places will be drier for a time, but this bit of rain will linger in parts of the north and east, but there will be more heavy rain from the south tonight.”

Ms Kealy said many areas will experience heavy rains today and this unsettled weather will continue into the weekend

“If the rain eases tonight there will be some drier weather tomorrow for some time but that will be quite brief because we will have more rain from the South West on Friday and that will then continue through the weekend,” she said.

“We’ve had quite a bit of rain since the summer, most soils are saturated and there are parts of the country where some soils are waterlogged.

“At this stage, intense rain where the rain falls in a short period of time, much of that rain will flow straight into the rivers because there is no capacity to absorb it.”

The road traffic authority advised road users to exercise caution.

“Road users in areas affected by the orange heavy rain warnings are advised to check local traffic and weather conditions before setting off,” the RSA said.

“Drivers have to slow down when it is wet and allow for a longer braking distance to the vehicle in front. This is particularly important on high-speed roads such as dual carriageways and freeways where there is an increased risk of aquaplaning.”

It also advised caution when driving behind trucks and staying behind; Don’t try to drive through flooded streets, it said.

“If the road ahead is flooded, take a different route: don’t try to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear flat may be deeper than you think. The rim may have subsided, and trees or branches may also have fallen that may not be visible,” the RSA said.

After crossing water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance as this helps dry the brakes, the RSA advised, adding that motorists should always use dipped headlights.

The RSA also advised pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to wear light-colored or high-visibility clothing and walk on the right-hand side of the road and face traffic when there are no footpaths.

In its forecast for today, Met Éireann had said outbreaks of heavy or thundery rain would move north this morning, causing local flooding, with some dry spells in the afternoon.

Flooding was reported on a section of the M50 in Dublin this afternoon. Road crews cleared surface water between Exit 6 Blanchardstown and Exit 4 Ballymun. Road users were asked to “be careful on all routes”.

Irish Rail is also urging customers to be “careful” while waiting on platforms following reports of flooding at Dalkey Station in south Dublin.

It will be “very windy and stormy with fresh to strong and gusty east winds,” said the meteorologist, with highs of 11 to 15 degrees.

Tonight there will be further outbreaks of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms moving north across the country causing local flooding.

This will be followed by drier conditions from the south, with strong south-east winds also easing overnight with temperatures as low as 9C to 12C.

Tomorrow morning it will be mostly dry with a chance of a few rain showers.

However, there will be rain in the afternoon and evening in the south-west and south, with winds in the south-west becoming fresh to strong, with highs of 15°C to 17°C.

Tomorrow night will be wet in many areas with some heavy rain and fresh winds with lows of 11C to 13C.

Friday will be mostly cloudy with rain showers, some heavy with winds later easing and highs of 14C to 16C.

Saturday’s rain in the northwestern areas will gradually clear as the day progresses, with most areas getting dry and bright weather, breezy with highs of 14°C to 17°C. However, rain spreads from the south in the afternoon and overnight out.

Sunday and beyond is likely to get wet again, the forecaster predicted.

Continue… Ireland weather: Wind turbine on fire off the coast of Wicklow after lightning struck as thunder and heavy rain hit the country

Fry Electronics Team

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