Cork business owners facing a 'sleepless night' as Storm Barra approaches

The city and county are on high alert
Cork business owners facing a 'sleepless night' as Storm Barra approaches

County Council employees were preparing pumps this evening for expected flooding tomorrow morning after Met Eireann issued a Status Red weather warning. Storm Barra will make landfall at 4am tomorrow morning with winds of 85KMH and gusts up to 150KMH. Coastal areas are expected to flood with Bantry high tide at 7.25am. Picture: Andy Gibson.

BUSINESS owners in Cork are facing a "sleepless night" with an agonising wait to see the potential initial impacts of Storm Barra.

Met Éireann yesterday issued a status red wind warning for Cork, in effect from 6am on Tuesday until 9pm with an orange wind warning expected to remain until 6am Wednesday.

A yellow rain warning is also in place nationwide until 6pm on Wednesday, as the strong winds from Storm Barra are accompanied by heavy rain.

Eoin O’Sullivan, president of Cork Business Association (CBA) said businesses in high-risk areas of the city centre were taking precautions to protect property against potential flood damage - hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. 

"We’re going into another night of worry - a sleepless night for many.

"We would feel a lot more comfortable if we had a flood defence scheme in place.

"We have been told that the Morrison’s Island project will be going ahead very soon but still it’s just the delays, certain groups in the city that have opposed it have made it very difficult," he said.

"All we can be is hopeful that it won’t flood."

Tomorrow morning's high tide is expected at 7.24am.

Cork City Council warned that in addition to the weather warnings flooding was also likely due to very high astronomical Spring Tides in the morning.

City council said areas where flooding most susceptible to flooding include low-lying areas of the city centre, in particular on Morrison’s Quay, Fr Mathew Quay, Fr Mathew Street, Union Quay, Trinity Bridge, South Terrace and Rutland Street.

Speaking to The Echo John Minihan, who owns Minihan’s pharmacy on Oliver Plunkett Street - an area often hit by flooding - said he was hopeful that his business would not flood on this occasion due to the direction of the winds forecast. 

"Flooding wise we should be ok but we’ll still take precautions," he said. 

He said that weather events such as this underscore the need for adequate flood defences for the city, describing the reoccurring risk of flooding as "worrying" particularly in the midst of the pandemic "when the city is being so hard hit by the downturn in trade".

Areas of the county were also bracing themselves ahead of the bad weather, with Cork County Council erecting flood barriers in places like Mallow and Fermoy.

CLOSURES

Numerous disruptions to services in Cork today have been announced to due Storm Barra. 

The Department of Education advised that all schools covered by the red alert and orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow.

There will also be disruptions to travel, including the cancellation of all Bus Éireann services in Cork, some flights and the Black Ash Park and Ride. 

The public has also been advised of disruption to health services in Cork today including the closure of all Covid-19 vaccination centres and test centres. 

All planned inpatient and outpatient appointments and procedures in Cork University Hospital, Bantry General Hospital and Mallow General Hospital are cancelled.

The public has been asked not to travel to any appointment or service without checking first.

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