ens of thousands of homes on the island of Ireland are without power, as Storm Eunice continues to rage.
Around 80,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power on the island on Friday morning, as the storm felled trees, blocked roads and caused damage and disruption across swathes of the Republic of Ireland.
Counties Cork, Kerry and the south of the country have borne the brunt of the major storm so far, as high winds wreaked havoc on homes, buildings and businesses.
However, heavy snow also caused significant disruption in parts of the north-west.
Red and orange storm warnings for parts of the country have now lapsed, although a yellow warning remains in place.
It is expected that winds will persist in the southern half of the island in the coming hours, even the storm moves over beyond the island.
Met Eireann has said that gusts of over 130km per hour had been recorded in Cork.
Across the south of the island, there have been numerous reports of fallen trees and blocked roads after high winds hit the region.
Schools and colleges across the Republic of Ireland remain closed on Friday, following advice from the Department of Education.
In total, schools in nine counties were closed due to the dangerous conditions.
Brian Tapley, from ESB, said on Friday morning: “We will know the extent of the damage to our network probably by midday, because the storm is passing so quickly.”
He told RTE radio that ESB workers would aim to “restore everyone as quickly as possible and safely as possible”.
As of midday on Friday, ESB said that it hoped that the majority of customers would see power restored by end of the day.
However, it warned that some customers in south Kerry and west Cork may be without power overnight.
Snow has been reported to have fallen in parts of the Donegal and the north-west, with more sleet and snow possible later on Friday.
Local council staff have been working to clear any blocked roads.
Liz Coleman, from Met Eireann, said the storm will track eastwards across Ireland over the course of the morning.
“The very strong winds will be over by midday today,” she told RTE radio.
“We will then be in a strong westerly airflow with some blustery, scattered showers.”
Gardai have urged the public to heed warnings for their local areas.
Those living in the worst-affected areas have been advised to stay indoors for the duration of the storm and to remain cautious even when the worst conditions have abated.
Bus Eireann confirmed that following the lifting of the red warning, services in Cork, Kerry and Clare have now returned to a normal schedule.
Irish Rail said that services on all routes are operating as normal, with reduced speed in some locations.
The HSE said it hopes to experience little or no disruption to services on Friday.
Anne O’Connor, chief operations officer for the HSE, said on Friday that patients should hopefully only experience a “brief disruption” to planned appointments and services.
Ireland’s National Emergency Co-ordination Group met on Thursday to finalise planning, with chairman Keith Leonard predicting a “high-impact, multi-hazard weather event”.
On Friday morning, he urged people to take precautions as the storm continues to track across the country.
“There’s a significant number of trees now down, blocking roads in Cork, Kerry and Clare. On the positive side, the high tide passed off along the south coast,” he said.
Tommy Ryan, from the County and City Management Association, said on Thursday night that crews are on stand-by, as well as Civil Defence if necessary.
“Each local authority is scaling the response at an appropriate level depending on the level of warning, whether it is red, orange or yellow,” he said.
“The local government sector is prepared and ready to respond.”
A yellow wind and rain warning covers the rest of the country until 6pm, with a snow and ice warning in place until 10am on Saturday.
In Northern Ireland, a yellow wind and snow warning is in place until 6pm on Friday.
Difficult driving conditions were reported on parts of the Glenshane Pass in Co Londonderry due to snow.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed officers attended the scene of several crashes on the stretch of road on Friday.
A PSNI spokesperson said no-one required hospital treatment.
“The Glenshane Road remains open and is passable with care at present,” they added.
Meanwhile, a yellow rain warning has been issued for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo for 24 hours from 4pm on Saturday.
It comes with a warning from Met Eireann of the potential for localised flooding in the north-west.