Storm Erik: Orange alert as damaging gusts, coastal flooding forecast

Met Éireann issues warning with winds of 130km/h expected in the West on Friday

Cars have been left stranded in flood water after Storm Erik made its presence felt in Salthill, Co Galway. Video: Joe O'Shaughnessy

 

Met Éireann has warned of damaging gusts and coastal flooding as Storm Erik is due to hit on Friday morning.

Gusts of up to 130km/h are expected on coastal counties of Galway, Mayo and Donegal, for where a status orange weather alert has been issued. Wind speeds are expected to peak at 9am on Friday morning. A yellow level weather warning for wind is in place for the rest of the country.

Storm Erik could generate very high seas as well as coastal flooding with a combination of low pressure, high seas and high tides, Met Éireann has said.

The status orange warning is in operation for Galway and Mayo from 5am to 1pm on Friday and for Donegal from 9am on Friday to 6am on Saturday.

Storm force 10 winds capable of causing structural damage can be expected in coastal areas between Loop Head in Co Clare and Malin Head in Co Donegal.

The nationwide yellow level wind warning is in place from 5am on Friday to 6am on Saturday with mean wind speeds of between 50 to 65km/h with gusts of 80 to 110km/h.

The yellow level warning is the lowest of three categories, meaning “be aware” while orange level is the second highest, meaning “be prepared”.

The Coast Guard urged the public to be mindful of risks on exposed coastal area such as piers, walkways and cliffs. It said sudden gusts or waves can result in serious accidents and called on recreational walkers to “stay back, stay high and stay dry”.

It also urged mariners to heed the warnings, particularly users of small vessels. It advised anyone who sees people in trouble along the coast or at sea to call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is asking road users to exercise caution. It is recommending that motorists check local weather and traffic conditions and be aware of the conditions before setting out.

It advised road users to beware of objects being blown out on the road, to watch for falling debris and it said vehicle control can be affected by strong cross-winds. It also urged drivers to allow extra space between themselves and cyclists.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service said all of its properties in counties Mayo and Galway, including Connemara National Park, would be closed for the duration of the warning.

Storm Erik is expected to track northwards on Friday night leaving behind blustery showers with a risk of hail and isolated thunderstorms. Lowest temperatures will stay at about 4 and 7 degrees.

Gales

Saturday and Sunday will see a change to more normal conditions with the winds gradually abating to be followed by scattered showers and a notable fall in temperatures at night leading to the possibility of some frost patches.

Sunday will be a cold, bright and breezy day with sunny spells and scattered showers.

The showers will be most frequent in the west and north, with a continued risk of hail and isolated thunderstorms.

Storm Erik is on the Met Éireann and UK Met Office’s official list of named storms for 2018/2019. The last named storm, in mid-December, was Storm Deirdre, which left thousands without power. The next name on the storm list is Freya.