Met Éireann upgrades storm warning to ‘status red’

Atlantic storm coming over country this evening may feature gusts of 90 to 120 km/h

Thu, Dec 26, 2013, 20:51

Met Éireann upgraded a storm warning for this evening to “status red” with high winds and heavy rain forecast.

Red is the highest category of warning and is reserved for the most severe weather events. The warning came into effect at 5pm and is to remain in place for 24 hours.

Shannon Airport reported a number of flights have been diverted this evening due to very strong gusts, and asked would-be passengers to check the flight status with their airlines.

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The weather warning was focused on coastal areas and includes counties Clare, Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Waterford and Wexford.

This evening southeast winds will increase to 55-75 km/h, with gusts of 90 to 120 km/h, and up to 130 km/h in some coastal areas. This is powerful enough to cause structural damage.

Met Éireann’s forecast stated: “Dry in northern and eastern areas at first, but it will become stormy and very wet countrywide this evening, with the rain possibly preceded by some sleet on higher ground in the north for a time.”

It is forecast to be stormy overnight, with gale force southwesterly winds giving “some severe and damaging gusts in places, highest of all in exposed western and southern coastal areas”, Met Éireann added.

“The heavy rain will clear eastwards to showers, but showers will become heavy and prolonged overnight in western and northern counties later on, with some thundery downpours in places. Lowest temperatures 3 to 6 degrees Celsius.”

AA Roadwatch reported further difficult driving conditions were expected later today due to the Red Alert. It also drew attention to “significant danger of coastal flooding”.

Irish Ferries cancelled all Swift sailings scheduled for today.

An estimated 30,000 homes and businesses have had power restored over recent days and just over 500 remained without power this afternoon.

An ESB spokesperson said crews worked into the night on Christmas Eve and from first light yesterday to restore power.

Crews are working on the remaining faults and the company said these should be restored shortly.

Eircom stated it had restored services to 2,100 customers between Christmas Eve and this evening.

“The company will have 700 crews working tomorrow, Friday 27th of December to repair network damage as a result of recent severe wind and lightning,” it said.

“Network damage is widespread and the worst affected areas include West Cork, Mayo, Galway, Kilkenny, Carlow, and Wexford as a result of lightning and high winds that have caused widespread structural damage to poles and cables as well as damage to customer’s in-home wiring.”

The company expected additional faults in the next 24 hours as a result of further severe weather conditions forecast.

In Britain the Environment Agency has warned of another storm coming in from the Atlantic which is expected to hit the UK tonight.

It is warning of further disruption from flooding in parts of southern England with more heavy rainfall forecast this afternoon.

Many rivers remain swollen after storms which led to power cuts and travel delays.

More than 1,000 homes in south-east and south-west England have flooded and a further 24,000 homes and businesses have no power.

The Met Office said the storm could bring 2.5cm of rain and severe gusts and is predicted to affect almost all parts of the UK.

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