Three people are dead and hundreds of thousands still without power following Storm Ophelia: the worst storm in recorded history on the island of Ireland.

The storm force winds cleared Ireland’s coast by midnight, but people were warned to remain cautious in the aftermath of the extreme weather. A second day of destruction was expected in Scotland and North East England due to fallen trees blocking rail lines.

Fallen trees blocking roads and downed power lines are some of the likely hazards on Tuesday as the country begins to return to normal following a day when the island of Ireland went into lockdown.

Violent winds of more than 96mph (156kph) in places caused widespread damage to electricity networks, uprooting trees and damaging properties.

Two men and a woman were killed in separate incidents in the Republic of Ireland.

One man was killed in Ravensdale, Dundalk, when a car he was in was struck by a tree at around 2.45pm, gardai said.

In Cahir, Co Tipperary, a man in his 30s was killed in a chainsaw accident when he was trying to clear a tree downed by the wind.

Earlier, a woman died when a tree fell on her car in severe wind.

The Garda said the driver was in her mid 50s and was travelling outside Aglish village in Co Waterford.

A female passenger, in her 70s, was injured and taken to Waterford Regional Hospital for treatment, gardai said. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Off the coast of Rosslare, a volunteer lifeboat crew rescued three men on a yacht after they got into trouble in the storm.

The men had been trying to get to safety in a harbour but were constantly pushed back by wind and tides.

They issued a mayday 10 miles offshore and were rescued by the Rosslare Harbour lifeboat.

The storm has caused major disruption to power supplies and 330,000 homes and businesses were still without power on Monday night.

Help from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is expected to be drafted in on Wednesday to help restore power, ESB, the Republic of Ireland’s electricity network, said.

Officials have warned that repairs will take several days. Some areas were also hit by shortages to water supplies.

There were reports of localised flooding in Co Galway, and storm surges and severe winds were still predicted to pose a threat on the Dublin and Louth coasts until late on Monday night.

A spokesman for the HSE said there had been a significant impact on health services, and warned of disruption in the “coming days” with some cancellations and delays expected to appointments and discharges from hospital.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said additional funding will be made available to assist in the clean-up, and work is under way to assess the damage.

“As is always the case in national emergencies like this, full resources and additional funding will be available,” he said.

Photo – APEX

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