No area in Ireland will escape the impact of Storm Barra, the head of forecasting at Met Éireann has warned.
Forecaster Evelyn Cusack urged the country to prepare for the storm on Monday evening, as storm-force winds “will be in well before dawn”.
Met Éireann has expanded a red weather warning to three counties, after warning Storm Barra poses “a danger to life”. With winds of over 130 kilometres per hour set to batter the island, disruption to travel and power supplies is likely, along with coastal flooding.
People are advised to remove or secure patio and garden furniture, rubbish bins and any loose items from around buildings this evening, and not to park any vehicle in an area that may be prone to flooding.
“The advice obviously is to secure everything, but not tomorrow when the storm-force winds will be in well before dawn,” Ms Cusack told RTÉ News.
She described the storm as “quite a long event”, which is not likely to ease off completely until Wednesday morning.
My Dept @DeptHousingIRL have been in contact with local authorities to ensure every support is available to rough sleepers & those experiencing homelessness. Extreme weather response is in place & there is plenty of bed capacity, no person should be sleeping rough at this time. pic.twitter.com/gbmVa43rJo
— Darragh O'Brien (@DarraghOBrienTD) December 6, 2021
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, whose Department is leading the national co-ordination effort ahead of the arrival of the storm, tweeted that his officials have “been in contact with local authorities to ensure every support is available to rough sleepers and those experiencing homelessness”.
“Extreme weather response is in place & there is plenty of bed capacity, no person should be sleeping rough at this time,” he said.
Defence Force troops are on standby ahead of the arrival of the storm, alongside members of the Civil Defence. ESB Networks are also ready to mobilise responses to restore power, once the impact of the storm is known.
‘Very difficult day’
Taoiseach Micheál Martin earlier warned that Tuesday will be “a very, very difficult day from a storm perspective”.
“It’s very, very serious and we would urge people to stay at home unless necessary in terms of travel, particularly in the counties concerned,” he said.
“Watch out for the weather alerts. I think it’s very important that we get the message out there to the public at large, that we are dealing with a very, very serious storm in Storm Barra, tomorrow and right through to Wednesday.
“We have been issuing, in the last 24 hours, warnings to people, particularly near coastlines. People must avoid the coast at all costs.
“Particularly in those counties where we have a strong orange alert or red alerts, travel should be kept to a minimum.
“The usual precautions in terms of falling trees should be adhered to. This is a very, very severe storm.”
At lunchtime on Monday, Met Éireann upgraded a wind warning for Kerry and Cork to status red – the forecaster’s highest level of alert – with Clare later added to the upgraded warning.
Limerick and Galway are also expected to be raised to a status red warning, a Garda statement said on Monday evening.
People in these counties are advised to shelter in place for the duration of the warning, which will take effect from 6am to 9pm on Tuesday.
A red wind warning means consistent wind speeds in excess of 80 kilometres per hour and gusts in excess of 130 kilometres per hour. Conditions are regarded as life-threatening for those who venture outdoors.
An orange wind warning is in place for many western counties and some eastern counties, forecasting damaging gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour and warning that disruption to both power and travel is likely.
- Orange wind warning Tuesday 6am to Wednesday 6am: Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo and Wexford.
- Orange wind warning Tuesday 8am to Tuesday 1pm: Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and East Meath.
A yellow rain warning is also in place nationwide from 2pm on Tuesday to 6pm on Wednesday, as the strong winds from Storm Barra are accompanied by heavy rain, along with the possibility of snow and sleet on high ground in the west of Ireland.
Dangerous conditions are also expected at sea with marine warnings in place along all Irish coasts, including a red marine warning for southwestern sea areas.
There is a significant possibility of flooding in all coastal areas, including Dublin and Cork.
The Irish Coast Guard, Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána and local authorities have issued the following public safety advice:
- Stay away from all coastal areas for the duration of the Met Éireann warnings.
- All road users should be aware of the hazardous travelling conditions, and only necessary journeys should be undertaken. Motorists should slow down and be aware of the dangers of fallen trees and debris. High sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable during this time.
- As conditions will vary throughout the event, people need to take account of the local conditions and advice from their local authority.
- The public are warned electricity wires are always live, never approach. If you see fallen or damaged wires, keep clear and phone ESB Networks immediately on 1800 372 999/021 238 2410.
- Should red level weather warnings be issued, the public are advised to shelter in place for the duration of the warning.
- Keep your mobile phone charged. Mobile phones can connect to the 999 service on any operators network so even where you do not have coverage on your own network it may still be possible to make a 999 call.
-Additional reporting by Press Association.