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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 17 January 2021

Emergency group to issue safety advice as Storm Lorenzo approaches

Met Éireann is expected to issue weather warnings later this morning.

Thursday's wind speed forecast for Storm Lorenzo.
Thursday's wind speed forecast for Storm Lorenzo.
Image: Met Éireann

THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY Coordination Group will meet this morning to discuss nationwide preparations for the expected arrival of Storm Lorenzo tomorrow evening.

The meeting will take place at 10:30am in Dublin and Met Éireann is expected to issue weather warnings shortly afterwards. 

Paddy Mahon, from the National Emergency Coordination Group told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that it is “highly probable” the storm will hit Ireland. Counties Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo and Sligo are expected to be the worst affected.

Crisis management teams in each local authority have but put on alert following a meeting of National Emergency Coordination Group yesterday. 

“Each local authority will tailor their responses depending on the level of [weather] warning,” Mahon said. 

Minister Eoghan Murphy has warned that Storm Lorenzo could cause “ferocious” and “very dangerous” storm surges around coastal areas when it reaches Ireland.

Met Éireann has said that Lorenzo is “a large and powerful hurricane” but that it should weaken as it passes the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. It is expected to transition into an extra tropical storm before it reaches Ireland.

Current forecasts indicate that Storm Lorenzo will move across the country during Thursday night into Friday morning, moving west to east across the country, potentially bringing strong winds, rain and the threat of coastal flooding. 

The severity of the storm once it hits Ireland is “still to be determined”, Murphy said. 

“There are still some because this is an unprecedented hurricane that we see now coming towards Ireland. It will de-intensify, if you like, as it reaches as a storm,” he said.

Murphy said primary concerns at the moment are of coastal areas. 

He said “very significant storm wave surges” are expected around coastal areas which could be “quite ferocious” and “very dangerous”. 

There are also concerns surrounding “very strong winds” during the storm.

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The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) Crisis Management Team has been meeting daily and working with Met Éireann, local authorities and other government departments and agencies since Friday to review the storm and its predicted trajectory and intensity.

The NDFEM contacted all local authorities yesterday advising them to activate their severe weather assessment teams and local coordination arrangements.

Local authorities have activated their crisis management teams and the Department of Transport has activated its crisis weather plans, with crews ready and on standby to deal with any potential difficulties posed by the storm. 

The ESB has taken action and is ready to mobilise responses to restore power once the impact of the storm is known. 

The HSE has also activated its crisis management teams and has issued messages to service users and staff to minimise any potential impact on services.

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