Met Éireann warns of winds up to 130km/h

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

Met Éireann has warned winds of up 130km/h will continue today across the country.

“We are in a very windy period and it has been a while since we have had one,” said Gerald Fleming, head of forecasting at Met Éireann.

However, there have been few serious incidents other than the collapse of a wall at a DIY centre in Longford on Tuesday that resulted in the deaths of two men. An investigation is continuing into the incident, which may have been caused by a freak gust of wind.

Yesterday afternoon the ESB reported a power outage in the Limerick area that affected some 3,000 homes. Services were restored within a few hours.

In Co Clare, the Cliffs of Moher visiting centre was closed to tourists due to conditions that saw cars damaged by airborne debris and pedestrians swept off their feet.

A vehicle evacuating staff members from the centre was lifted off the ground, according to management, in what were the worst conditions seen at the attraction in almost a decade.

The centre and cliffs have been closed only four times in the past six years. A decision was due early today about whether to open the facility today. A flag system is in place to warn visitors of wind conditions.“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it, said centre director Katherine Webster.

Injuries

“We had a number of people swept off their feet but fortunately they suffered only minor injuries. We have seen a lot of damage particularly to cars with lumps of rock the size of your hand being blown around the place.”

Fire services reported little activity around the country, with only a couple of incidents of downed trees requiring a response.

Eircom said the stormy conditions had taken a toll on its services, with some 4,500 reports of network faults.

“Both broadband and telephone services are impacted,” it said in a statement, with few areas of the country unaffected. Crews were dispatched last night to reconnect lines.

The storms are expected to continue until the weekend, when they should be significantly reduced.

“At the moment we are saying to expect west/southwest winds of 50 to 70km/h with gusts of up to 130km/h,” Mr Fleming said last night. He said that warning was valid until 9pm today.

“There is a succession of small weather systems and we expect one of them to cross Ireland tonight or tomorrow. We don’t see flooding as a big risk though: it’s more the wind.”

Warning

Meanwhile, Met Éireann has launched an online warning system that relies on a series of colour-coded alarms designed to make forecasting more accessible to the public.

Based on the model employed by the European-wide Meteoalarm service, the yellow, orange and red tags are applied to indicate the severity of oncoming conditions – temperatures, rainfall or, in last nights case, wind.