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.

Northern Ireland Electricity said it had restored electricity supplies to about 10,000 customers. Just 70 remain without supply with engineers and emergency crews responding to faults in Co Down and Co Antrim.

Yesterday, however, conditions were severe enough to cause widespread disruption and damage in a day that saw roofs being blown off buildings, flooding, downed trees and a heavy demand on emergency services.

In Co Westmeath a woman was killed after a tree fell on top of her car while driving on the Ballymahon Road outside Mullingar. She later died at the Midlands Regional Hospital.

The 23-year-old victim worked at a nearby nursing home and had been returning from a removal when high winds brought a tree down on her Mazda car.

In Cork, three people were injured when part of a platform roof at Kent station collapsed at about 3pm. The building was partially reopened last night after inspections.

There were further injuries in Limerick after a reported tornado in the town of Kilmallock blew a roof off a building injuring three, while scattered debris including slates and timber hurt another two people sitting in a nearby car. They were treated at University Hospital Limerick.

A garda described the weather surge as a freak storm. “It suddenly blew up with torrential rain at about 3pm and about half an hour later it had all subsided,” said Garda Marie Twohig.


According to Limerick County Council, fire crews from Kilmallock and Rathkeale responded to what locals described as an isolated tornado. “A shed had been lifted from a garden and was carried over the roofs of buildings on Sarsfield Street, knocking over two chimney stacks on to the street,” a spokesman said.

“In addition to that the roof of a disused shop was lifted off by the tornado injuring three people who were on the street.”

In the west, several traffic incidents were reported due to wind which reached up to 100km/h in Co Clare. A driver escaped after her vehicle hit a tree before overturning on the Ennis to Lahinch road at Kilnamona at about 3.30pm.

Gardaí said that in general the conditions had caused widespread traffic and transport disruption.

There was disruption too at Iarnród Éireann. Services were affected by the roof collapse in Cork while warnings in the west led to a 50km/h speed limit being placed on services operating in Galway, Mayo and Sligo.

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