Storm Brendan: Orange alert for entire country warns of flooding
Combination of spring tide and storm surge poses risk of structural damage
Walkers in Howth, Dublin, as waves crash over the harbour wall File photograph: Collins
A status orange weather alert is in place for the entire country as Ireland braces itself for high winds and heavy rain as Atlantic Storm Brendan passes off the northwest coast.
The first orange warning applies to Connacht, Donegal and Kerry until 9pm. The second applies to Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Clare, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford and will be in place between 8am and 3pm.
Met Éireann has warned that strong gale force to storm-force southerly winds will develop on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea, reaching violent storm force at times in the west.
Met Éireann has said there are large spring tides at the moment, with very high seas and onshore wind, so there is a huge risk of coastal flooding, particularly on southern and Atlantic coasts.
A status red marine warning has also been issued.
Met Éireann says a status orange warning indicates conditions “may pose a threat to life and property”, with dangerous driving conditions and risk of falling trees.
The warnings say southerly winds veering southwesterly will reach mean speeds of 65km/h to 80km/h, with gusts up to 130km/h, higher in exposed areas.
The high winds will be accompanied by heavy rain which will develop in the west and will spread quickly across the country.
Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack said Storm Brendan would bring stormy conditions. “Expect disruption to travel and possible localised flooding especially in coastal areas. There may also be some localised structural damage and trees uprooted.”
Galway City Council has put flood barriers in place at vulnerable locations in the city and warned the extreme weather events “will lead to over-topping and potential flooding” along shorelines. “The severe weather assessment team will continue to monitor the situation and will put further measures in place as necessary,” the council said.
The Irish Coast Guard has also advised the public to stay away from exposed beaches, cliffs, piers, promenades and harbours. “Breaking waves along the coast can be unpredictable and quickly drag you away. Do not approach breaking waves,” it added.
The National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) has advised the public not to visit any national parks, national monuments or nature reserves while the warnings are in place.
Five locations will be closed, including Killarney House and Gardens in Co Kerry; Dromore Woods Nature Reserve in Co Clare; Coole Park & Gardens Nature Reserve, Co Galway; Connemara National Park, Co Galway; and Knockma Woods Reserve in Tuam, Co Galway.
The Road Safety Authority appealed to road users to exercise caution in high winds.
As flood warnings were put in place around the country, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Kevin “Boxer” Moran announced government support for managing so called “pinch points” on the Shannon.
Some €7 million has been allocated to manage potential flooding of the river between Athlone and Meelick Weir.