Storm Barra ‘is by no means over’, authorities warn

Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan cautioned that 'the back end can hit you and give a wallop'
Storm Barra ‘is by no means over’, authorities warn

Vivienne Clarke

Storm Barra "is by no means over" although it may appear to have abated in some areas, a Minister of State has warned.

The warning has been echoed by Met Éireann, with a call on whether schools and colleges closed today will open tomorrow due to be made by around 6pm this evening.

Minister Patrick O'Donovan told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that "the back end can hit you and give a wallop".

He also defended the "traffic light system" for grading storm levels, and explained that forecasters had to err on the side of caution.

The worst case scenario would be if a county went from orange to red status and parents had to go to schools to bring their children home in the middle of a storm, he said.

The southwest of the country was "getting a bad battering" at present, Mr O’Donovan said, with his own area of west Limerick being "pretty rough" while the worst affected area was Bantry in Co Cork.

The high tide on the east coast later today could lead to problems, and the Minister encouraged the public to heed the advice from their local authority and to keep up to date on warnings through the media.

Medical appointments

Meanwhile, the HSE’s national lead for the vaccination programme has urged the public not to travel to any medical appointments on Tuesday without first checking ahead.

Damien McCallion told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that information will be updated “constantly” on www.hse.ie/stormbarra.

Mr McCallion also advised that ambulance services may be slower today as a result of the storm. He asked the public to “think carefully” before making an emergency call.

Hospitals in zones under orange and yellow weather warnings will operate time-critical treatments and emergency work, while community services will be closed.

Covid-19 testing and vaccination centres will be closed in status red areas and cancelled appointments will be rescheduled as quickly as possible, Mr McCallion said.

In orange and yellow zones, local assessments were being undertaken in some sites, including tented sites and those in high locations.

Covid test centres in Waterford, Clonmel, Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford will close early on Tuesday due to the storm. Anyone who was scheduled for a test today between 4pm and 7pm is being contacted by the HSE, and offered an earlier appointment today or an appointment tomorrow.

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