Motorists have been urged to drive with extreme caution after a woman was killed when her car was struck by a tree during severe weather conditions.

Storm force winds and heavy rain created dangerous driving conditions and around 65,000 homes have been left without power.

In Co Down, 35-year-old Mairead Theresa Sheilds from Raholp in Downpatrick died after her car was struck by a tree at Strangford Road in Downpatrick at around 4pm.

Wind speeds reached up to 140km/h in many areas during the height of the storm.

The ESB says its crews are working to restore power, but around 30,000 homes are still affected and a spokesperson said around 5,000 homes were likely to be without power overnight. The worst affected areas are in the South West and Mid-West regions

The company has asked people to stay away from fallen lines and report them to the emergency services or to the ESB itself.

Many roads have been made impassable, with reports of fallen poles, lines and trees in counties Galway and Clare, Laois, Limerick, Kilkenny and Meath.

In Galway, gardaí say a number of minor roads are impassable and motorists are being warned to avoid journeys, unless absolutely necessary.

A motorist in Dublin narrowly avoided serious injury when an overhead gantry collapsed on the Naas road outbound and there are long traffic delays as a result.

The road between Sutton Cross and Baldoyle Road is closed because of fallen cables.

The storm coming in from the Atlantic is expected to continue into the night before winds ease.

Met Éireann says winds will be between storm force nine and violent storm force 11 this evening and tonight on all coasts.

The weather station at Belmullet, Co Mayo recorded wind speeds of 174km/h today.