Storm Brian to bring severe winds and coastal flooding this weekend

Rainfall warning is also in place on Thursday for counties in Munster and much of Leinster

Storm Brian tracks up the west coast of Ireland on Saturday morning. Photograph: windy.com

Storm Brian tracks up the west coast of Ireland on Saturday morning. Photograph: windy.com

 

Areas of the south and west coasts which are still recovering from storm Ophelia have been told to be prepared for a “weather bomb” of strong winds, rain and coastal floods this weekend which may cause further loss of power supplies to homes and businneses.

Met Éireann has issued separate orange alerts for the south and west and a yellow alert for the entire island, covering Friday night through to Saturday evening.

While not as severe as the red alerts which preceded storm Ophelia, Met Éireann said “some coastal areas that escaped Ophelia”, may now get hit by a new storm.

Storm Brian is a “rapidly deepening depression” in the Atlantic which is unfolding as a wind, rain and flooding threat to coastal counties from Mayo to Wexford, over Friday and Saturday.

On Thursday Met Éireann tweeted that the weather system developing as Storm Brian would “undergo explosive cyclogenesis in the next 24 hours”. However speaking later the forecaster said the tweet had been deleted because of its reference s to “explosive cyclognesis”. Explosive cyclogenesis is also known as a “weather bomb” or “explosive development”.

Forecaster Liz Walsh said Met Éireann preferred to describe Storm Brian as a “rapidly deepening depression”. She stressed the wind, rains and floods are not expected to be as severe as Ophelia.

But she said Storm Brian was destined to hit some areas with gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour. The timing of these winds will coincide with high tides in some south and west coastal areas and there is potential for flooding, the forecaster said.

She also warned that where trees have already been weakened by Ophelia they could be brought down by Storm Brian.

The first orange alert is a wind and possible flood warning for Cos Wexford, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Waterford. It comes into effect at midnight on Friday and continues in place until noon on Saturday.

According to Met Éireann west to southwest winds veering northwest on Saturday will reach average speeds of 65-80 kilometres per hour with gusts up to 130 kilometres per hour in coastal areas . There will be a risk of coastal flooding as winds coincide with high tides and up to 60 mls of rainfall over the 24 hours to 10 pm on Saturday.

Orange warnings

The second of Met Éireann’s orange warnings is a wind and potential flood warning for Cos Galway and Mayo, from 6am to 6pm on Saturday. Northwesterly winds will reach average speeds of 65-80 kilometres per hour with gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour in coastal parts of Connacht, again with the risk of coastal flooding.

A status Yellow wind warning has also been issued for the entire island from 10 pm Friday night to 10pm Saturday.

ESB has said this weekend’s wind warning may hamper efforts to reconnect these remaining homes and might also cause further outages on Saturday.

In a statement at 8.30 pm on Thursday, ESB Networks said staff had restored power to a further 13,000 homes, farms and businesses since 5 pm, in difficult weather conditions.

The number without power now stood at 50,000, meaning a total of 335,000 homes, farms and businesses had been restored. Counties Wexford and Cork were worst affected, the company said.

In EU summit discussions on Thursday, the Irish sought an amendment to a funding mechanism for natural disaster which may allow it to seek EU help over the damage caused by Storm Ophelia.

Heavy rainfall caused spot flooding in parts of Offaly on Friday afternoon with roadways in Brosna, Cloughjordan and Shinrone under water.

Peter Ormond, a local Fianna Fáil councillor, said he believes drains in the area have become blocked due to debris from ex-Hurricane Ophelia earlier this week. “There’s flooding all over the place,” he said. “Brosna village is like a river running through it,” he added.

In Cork, motorists have been urged to be cautious as Storm Brian threatens flooding in low lying areas of both Cork city and several county towns through a combination of heavy rain and high tides.

Cork City Council this evening issued a warning to motorists of possible localised surface flooding at Morrison’s Island, South Terrace and Wandesford Terrace off the South Channel of the River Lee between 5.30pm and 7pm on Friday coinciding with high tides.

A Cork City Council spokeswoman said that council staff will continue to monitor the situation closely throughout Thursday night and Friday but the main impact of any tidal flooding is expected to be on traffic.

Cork County Council said it would be making sandbags available for householders and business people from a number of its depots as Storm Brianis expected to lead to some tidal flooding at low lying areas in Bantry, Youghal, Clonakilty and Midleton during high tide on Friday evening.

Brittany Ferries said due to the poor conditions sailings from Roscoff / Cork (20th October) and Cork / Roscoff (21st October) had been cancelled. Passengers were advised to call the company at (021) 4277801.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed storm Ophelia may have set a wave height record in Irish waters, with a wave of just over 26m recorded at the Kinsale gas platform off the Cork coast.

The 26.1m high wave that broke over the platform on Monday during Storm Ophelia beats the previous 25m wave record set at the platform during Storm Darwin in 2014.

Staff were on duty at the platform run by Kinsale Energy, formerly Marathon, throughout the tropical revolving storm which swept up over the south coast early on October 16th.

It evolved from the strongest eastern Atlantic hurricane in 150 years of records, according to University College Cork climatologist Dr Kieran Hickey.

Safety advice

The Road Safety Authority (RSA)has warned drivers to exercise caution while using the roads on Friday night and Saturday as Storm Brian passes over Ireland.

It gave the following advice for driving in strong winds:

- Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected. Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road.

-Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.

- Drivers should allow extra space allow between themselves and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.

- Use dipped headlights at all times