New storm alert issued for entire country tomorrow

Strong and gusty west to southwest winds to reach speeds of up to 130km

Sheep in a snow sprinkled field near Bellavary, Co Mayo today. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Sheep in a snow sprinkled field near Bellavary, Co Mayo today. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 14:18

Weather forecasters have issued a new alert for the entire country tomorrow, warning of strong winds and gusts of up to 130 km per hour.

Winds will be strongest at the coast but the warning applies to Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan.

Met Éireann meteorologist John Eagleton said a national weather warning – status orange – was in effect. This warns of strong and gusty west to southwest winds reaching speeds of 80km/h and gusting to up to 130km/h.

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“The worst affected areas will be the western and southern coastal counties,” he said. “There will be gusts up to 130km/h. It will be wet and windy. The morning will start off dry across much of the country, but clouds will increase and winds will pick up from a southerly direction.”

He said there “could certainly” be structural damage.

“It will be a windy day in the midlands and on the east coast, but I don’t think there will be major outages which would be the benchmark for storms.

“I think there might be some local power outages. There won’t be provincial or county-wide outages but there will definitely be some local ones.

“I don’t expect it to cause any major disruption at the moment.”

Mr Eagleton added that there would be rainfall of up to 20mm in the west and 12-13mm in the east.

A “code orange” alert warns of conditions which have the capacity to impact significantly on people in the affected areas. “The issue of an orange level weather warning implies that all recipients in the affected areas should prepare themselves in an appropriate way for the anticipated conditions,” Met Éireann’s website says.

The country is still cleaning up after a powerful storm yesterday that prompted the forecaster to issue its highest alert, a “code red” for much of the west coast.

Gale force winds and heavy downpours overnight left more then 7,000 homes without power.

ESB Networks said some 25,000 homes lost power yesterday with the worst affected areas in the northwest of the country

It said most of the 7,000 customers without electricity were in Co Donegal where network crews are currently working to restore power.

The damage caused by the storm included fallen lines, trees down across lines and broken poles.

Since the storm began yesterday, there have been over 400 separate faults affecting the network, the ESB said.

AA Roadwatch warned motorists to drive with care following heavy snow in parts of Sligo, Tipperary, Offaly and Laois. The promenade in Salthill, Co Galway also remains closed because of flooding.

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