At least two people were reported dead and 360,000 homes and businesses were without power following the arrival of former Hurricane Ophelia this morning on the southern Irish coast.

Industrial Info is closely monitoring the impact of the storm on plant operations via its Disaster Impact Tracker. For related information, see September 12, 2017, article - Industrial Info Introduces Disaster Impact Tracker. See Disaster Impact Tracker summary for Ireland below.

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Winds topping 160 kilometres (km) per hour (99 miles per hour) have been working their way northward along the country this morning, toppling trees and power lines. Grid operator ESB Networks confirmed that the initial impact was wreaking havoc with the electricity network across southern counties, but that power outages are expected further north as the storms travels.

Across the country, all schools, colleges and nurseries have been closed, along with most public transport and businesses, many of which allowed employees to stay at home or leave early. Most hospital outpatient appointments have also been cancelled and the Defence Forces are on standby. Irish Water has placed crews around the country on standby in case supplies are interrupted by the storm knocking out power to waste water plants and water schemes.

"Falling trees on overhead lines are responsible for most of the damage to the network," ESB Network said. "Crews across the country are in the process of responding to electricity outages, once it is safe to do so. The main areas impacted are in the southern half of the country and include counties Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Limerick."

The National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) on Severe Weather warned that the storm is "unprecedented with serious life- threatening conditions".

The majority of customers who have lost supply can expect to be without power overnight. ESB Networks noted that following similar storms like Storm Darwin, more than 280,000 customers were left without supply for a number of days. At noon in Ireland, the number of affected customers was 120,000, but by mid-afternoon, it had risen to 360,000.

ESB Networks said that it remains at Red Weather Preparedness Level.

ESB Head of Corporate Affairs Bernardine Maloney urged the public not to ring unless it is an emergency. "To report an emergency people can ring 1850-372-999. Do not approach any fallen lines, people sometimes think they should clear them off the road or to wrap them up or kick them to the side. They shouldn't as they are live wires and dangerous."

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has had the highest number of storms since 2005. For related information, see October 10, 2017, article - As Nate Fades, U.S. Gulf Coast Already Pumped to Restart Shuttered Processing, Refining Facilities, October 3, 2017, article - Puerto Rico Sees Some Progress in Power Infrastructure Restoration, September 25, 2017, article - Texas Refineries Mark Steady Recovery from Hurricane Harvey and September 13, 2017, article - U.S. Southeast Begins to Reopen Fuel Terminals After Irma Clobbers Region's Energy Market.

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