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STORM BARRA IS making its presence felt across the country, with the strongest winds being experienced in the southwest this morning where Status Red warnings are now in effect.

  • Status Red warnings are in place in Cork and Kerry
  • Another Red warning kicks in in Co Clare at 4pm
  • Orange wind warnings are also in place in Clare, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Louth Mayo, Meath, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow
  • Orange wind warnings will kick in for Sligo and Leitrim at 8pm and in Donegal at 2am 
  • Schools and most colleges in Status Red and Status Orange counties are closed today.
  • Some 59,000 people are without power. Check the ESB’s Powercheck site for live local updates on power outages and estimated reconnection times. The company has said it can only mobilise crews when it is safe so customers in Red counties may experience longer delays. 

Good morning, Daragh Brophy here. Welcome to The Journal‘s rolling coverage of today’s  extreme weather – we’ll have travel and transport news throughout the morning and will be covering all of the day’s developments as they happen. 

The effects of the storm are most keenly being felt in the counties already under the Status Red warning – as this video from Stephen Murphy of Sky News from Kinsale shows

At the other side of Co Cork, this was the scene in Bantry last night as locals took precautions against the impending extreme weather: 

bantry-west-cork-ireland-6th-dec-2021-locals-in-bantry-spent-the-evening-preparing-for-storm-barra-credit-karlis-dzjamkoalamy-live-news Source: Alamy Stock Photo

bantry-west-cork-ireland-6th-dec-2021-cork-county-council-employees-were-preparing-pumps-this-evening-for-expected-flooding-tomorrow-morning-after-met-eireann-issued-a-status-red-weather-warning Cork County Council employees were preparing pumps for expected flooding. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

bantry-west-cork-ireland-6th-dec-2021-locals-in-bantry-spent-the-evening-preparing-for-storm-barra-pictured-below-cork-county-council-has-installed-two-pumps-in-the-square-to-prevent-flooding Source: Alamy Stock Photo

While we’ve had indications that this spell of less-than-clement weather was approaching since Friday, Met Éireann’s Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack made the nation sit up and take notice properly yesterday when she took to the airwaves to describe the incoming system as a ‘weather bomb’. 

“It’s what the Americans would call a weather bomb,” is what she actually said – also managing to throw some oblique shade at US weatherforecasters as she went. 

In its updates today Met Éireann said that mean wind speeds had been increasing along southern and western coasts since early this morning. 

In a tweet within the last few minutes the weather service added: “Sherkin Island has recorded a gust of 113 km/h in the last hour, along with a gust of 98 km/h at Roches Point”. 

To summarise what’s going on right now:

  • We’ve Status Red warnings in place in Cork and Kerry 
  • Another kicks in in Co Clare at 4pm 
  • Orange wind warnings are also in place right now in Clare, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo and Wexford 
  • A Status Orange warning kicks in for Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and Meath at 8am 
  • Schools and most colleges in Status Red and Status Orange counties will be closed today
  • Creches in those counties will also stay closed 
  • Drivers are being urged to look out for wind-blown debris
  • The HSE has closed services and cancelled appointments in several counties
  • Vaccination centres in Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo will be closed
  • Test centres in Cork and Kerry are also cancelled
  • So are BreastCheck appointments in Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.
  • Aldi stores in Cork and Kerry will stay shut this morning, in Clare they close at 3pm 
  • Some bank branches are also closing in worst-hit counties 
  • Flights are being cancelled and delayed, and there are ferry cancellations 
  • Irish Rail said all services are operation as normal so far – but reduced speeds are in operation between Mallow and Cork/Tralee

You’ll find more detail on this morning’s main points here.

Liz Walsh of Met Éireann has just been in Morning Ireland giving the latest picture. Here are the main points:

  • The centre of the storm is currently around 115km west of Galway 
  • It’s tracking towards Galway Bay, and is set to make landfall around midday 
  • Strong and gusty winds are currently being experienced in most parts of the country 
  • Worst weather in Cork and Kerry will be from around 11am 
  • Clare will be close to the centre of the storm – winds may actually ease off a bit in the next few hours before the Status Red alert kicks in there this afternoon 
  • Winds will get lighter this afternoon along the north-east coast, including in Dublin, as more violent gusts hit the West 
  • Those areas in western counties can also expect thundery bursts of rain this afternoon 
  • Snow is being reported in Donegal and Sligo but that’s likely to recede this afternoon 

Norma Foley, the Education Minister, was on Morning Ireland straight after Liz Walsh. 

She said (unsurprisingly, I suppose) that the decision to advise schools to close in Status Orange as well as Status Red counties was made for health and safety reasons. 

Asked whether schools would have remote learning in place today, she said decisions had to be taken in schools at short notice yesterday so remote learning was “not a requirement” as far as the Department was concerned – although it will be in place in some schools.

It’s expected schools will be open again tomorrow, she said – but the situation will be monitored as the day goes on. 

Spokespeople from various agencies have been popping up on Morning Ireland with the latest in the last few minutes.

Superindendent Liam Geraghty of the Garda Press Office said the advice to those in Status Red areas is to stay safe and stay indoors.

If you are out and about driving anywhere in the country today reduce your speed and prepare to encounter fallen debris and other obstacles, he warned.

If you come across a fallen tree do not attempt to move it yourself, he said, report it to your local Garda station.

Barry Kenny of Irish Rail said all services are still operating on all routes but that delays can be expected in worst-hit counties. Reduced speeds are in operation between Mallow and Cork/Tralee.

Bus Éireann‘s services in Status Red counties are suspended this morning, the service’s spokesman Alan Parker told the programme. Services in Clare – which is also set to turn red this afternoon – will be suspended from 4pm.

  • You can find the company’s full statements on the storm here

There’s flooding being reported across Kerry too now, where the tide (thankfully) is now receding. 

“Flooding in Tralee at Godfrey Place, Prince’s Quay and Ballyard Road Pumps in place since 5am,” Kerry County Council tweeted

The Pier Road/Bell Heights area of Kenmare is impassable, the council says – effectively blocking the route south towards the bridge. So if you need any further advice not to drive from Kenmare towards Glengarriff this morning, well, don’t. 

Michelle Hennessy here taking over the liveblog from Daragh. 

Let’s get an update on the power situation.

ESB Networks Powercheck is showing a significant number of outages, with at least 12,000 homes without power this morning:

Source: Powercheck

ESB has said crews are out working to restore power in impacted areas as soon as possible.

You can log a fault online or by calling 1800 372 999.

 An Post has confirmed all post offices in Cork and Kerry will remain closed today and there will be no mail deliveries or collections in any part of the counties Kerry or Cork today.

 In Clare, postal deliveries services will operate as normal until 2pm, and post offices will remain open for business as usual until 2pm.

Any Child Benefit payments due today will be paid at post offices tomorrow. 

Letter, parcel and post office services will operate as normal in all other counties today.

 An Post expects services to resume tomorrow, but will continue to monitor the situation. 

Spare a thought today for the news reporters deployed all over the country to stand outside in the wind and rain – ankle deep in floodwater – and tell you that the weather is bad.

Newstalk’s Kacey O’Riordan has this report from Cork City:

Source: Newstalk/YouTube

We’re hoping she’s back inside now with a cuppa.

Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack had a message for people on Morning Ireland:

“Follow all of the warnings all the local authorities’ and emergency services’ advice, don’t go out, don’t do anything stupid,” she said.

She said the threat of flooding for Cork has now receded and has shifted instead to the east coast, particularly Dundalk and Drogheda.

Evelyn said there will be poor conditions at different times in different parts of the country today and this evening.

There are, as expected, some disruptions to public transport due to storm damage. However alternative arrangements are being made for passengers:

A quick update from ESB Networks, they’ve just told us there are currently around 33,000 customers without power. 

Don’t forget, if you’re without power you can check for updates on the Powercheck website.

 

Hello. It’s Órla Ryan here, taking over from Michelle Hennessy.

Thanks for staying with us for all the latest weather updates this morning.

I hate to be the immediate bearer of bad news, but bus transfers are in operation between Waterford and Kilkenny train stations due to flooding in Waterford.

Some rogue trampolines are making their presence felt around the country. Are there any loose ones near you?

Send weather photos to pictures@thejournal.ie

In terms of flight disruption, here’s the latest information:

Aer Lingus has cancelled flights in and out of Cork Airport and Shannon Airport today.

At Ireland West Airport, flights are currently operating to schedule.

People have been asked to contact the relevant airline if they have specific queries about flights due to operate today.

A Delta airlines flight en route from New York to Dublin was forced to divert to Amsterdam after failing to land twice due to high winds.

As of 9.45am, more than 59,000 electricity customers were without power across the country, ESB has confirmed.

ESB Networks “will be making safe faults throughout the day and restoring supply remotely and on site when safe to do so”, a spokesperson said.

People have been asked to check estimated restoration times or report an outage on Powercheck.ie

The ESB statement notes:

“Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, have caused damage this morning to the electricity network affecting more than 59,000 homes, farms and businesses. The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds.

“With the storm still crossing the country, more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected. ESB Networks reminds the public that if you come across fallen wires or damaged electricity network, never, ever touch or approach these as they are LIVE and extremely dangerous.

“All internal resources are on alert and will be deployed to respond to all electricity outages once it is safe to do so. With a red weather warning in the Southwest in effect until tonight, this may mean our crews may not be mobilised on the ground until the worst of the severe weather passes.”

 

ESB also shared this important public safety message: “If you come across fallen wires or damaged electricity network, never, ever touch or approach these as they are LIVE and extremely dangerous.

“Please report any damage to electricity infrastructure by calling 1800 372 999. Customers should have their MPRN available to access recorded information specific to their location.”

ESB Networks is reminding customers of the precautionary measures to take in the event of a power cut:

  • Stay Safe, Stay Clear: Never approach broken lines or damaged poles, and keep children and animals away – report damage to ESB Networks at 1800 372 999 and listen to recorded messages carefully
  • Turn off electric cookers, ovens, irons, etc, if electricity supply is lost
  • Leave a light switched on so you know when power has been restored
  • Take extra care if using candles, oil lamps or other naked flames
  • Test smoke alarms with fresh batteries
  • Ensure adequate ventilation if using gas heaters

Storm Barra is also having an impact on Covid-19 testing with some facilities rescheduling appointments due to the bad weather.

The latest updates on the impact of the storm on Covid testing and other HSE services can be read here.

In relation to the Carlow test centre closing, a HSE spokesperson said: “The Cork-based National Ambulance Service (NAS) team which was due to open this pop-up centre could not travel today due to the red weather warning. All appointments have been rescheduled to tomorrow.”

Met Éireann has updated some of its weather warnings.

A Status Orange wind warning has now been extended to Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.

The warning will be valid in Sligo and Leitrim from 8pm today until 8am tomorrow.

The warning in Donegal will be valid from 2am until 2pm tomorrow

Screenshot 2021-12-07 10.52.56 Source: Met.ie

The current Met Éireann weather warnings are as follows:

Status Red – Wind warning for Cork, Kerry

Southwesterly winds later veering northwesterly will reach mean speeds in excess of 80 km/h with severe or damaging gusts in excess of 130km/h. Due to a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide, coastal flooding is expected. Disruption to power and travel are likely.

Valid from 9.34am to 9pm today 

Status Red – Wind warning for Clare

Valid from 4pm today until 1am tomorrow 

Status Orange – Wind warning for Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Wexford

Southeasterly winds, later veering northwesterly will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with severe or damaging gusts of 100 to 130 km/h, with localised stronger winds likely, with severe gusts on coasts. Due to a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide, coastal flooding is expected. Disruption to power and travel are likely.

Valid from 9.34am today until 6am tomorrow

Status Orange – Wind warning for Dublin, Louth, Wicklow, East Meath

Valid from 9.34am until 1pm today  

Status Orange – Wind warning for Leitrim, Sligo

Valid from 8pm today until 8am tomorrow 

Status Orange – Wind warning for Donegal

Valid from 2am until 2pm tomorrow 

Status Yellow – Wind and rain warning for Ireland

Storm Barra will bring widespread mean speeds of 50 to 65 km/h and gusts of 90 to 110 km/h with localised stronger winds likely. Heavy rain will also bring risks of surface flooding and, due to a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide, coastal flooding is expected. Disruption to power and travel are likely.

Valid from 9.34am until 6pm today 

Northern Ireland Warnings

Yellow – Wind and Rain Warning for Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry

Strong winds and heavy rain bring a risk of some travel disruption and flooding

Valid from 6am today until 9am tomorrow 

At a press briefing about Storm Barra, Keith Leonard, Chair of the State’s National Emergency Coordination Group, said the storm has caused significant disruption with trees down and power disruptions across the country.

He said people have taken public advice on board but warned that today is going to remain “hazardous” and “difficult”.

Eoin Sherlock, Chief Hydrometeorologist at Met Éireann, said the coastal risk has spread from the south and west to the east coast now.

Later today, the risk will again develop in parts of the northwest such as Galway.

Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Eireann, said the strongest winds tomorrow will be over Donegal.

More from my colleague Orla Dwyer who is tuning in to the press briefing:

Claire Quane from the ESB said 59,000 customers have been impacted by power outages today. She said there was a significant outage in Donegal, but a lot of these customers have since been restored.

Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack said there are “still some very severe conditions to come” as the storm continues throughout the day.

Another one for the rogue trampoline collection. This time near the Sugarloaf in Co Wicklow. Thanks for sending in the photo, Cat.

Send your weather photos to pictures@thejournal.ie. And remember, stay safe and indoors where possible!

sdr Source: Cat C

The road from Kenmare towards Glengarriff in Co Cork was one of the many routes flooded this morning.

IMG-20211207-WA0000

More from Orla Dwyer who is watching the press briefing: Keith Leonard said a meeting will be held this afternoon to assess risks for schools tomorrow with a decision on any recommendations to be made to the Department of Education at around 5.30pm today.

Tom McGuinness from the HSE said any cancelled Covid-19 tests or vaccine appointments will be rescheduled.

He said some temporary structures at test and vaccination centres were risk-assessed yesterday and, where appropriate, these structures were taken down. They will be re-built tomorrow, weather permitting. As a result, services may still be disrupted at these centres tomorrow morning.

On climate change, Evelyn Cusack said: “Last time we had a storm here in Ireland was Storm Aiden … We’ve gone through an unusually very quiet period of weather.

“With climate change, we are in a warming atmosphere so severe weather events are more likely,” she said, adding that storms like this are not unexpected.

Wexford County Council’s Emergency Management Team met again this morning to review the early impacts of Storm Barra across the county.

There are no major incidents to report.

While tides are high along the coast, flood defences in New Ross, Ballyhack and Arthurstown have performed extremely well, with no flooding to report in these areas, a statement notes.

The council’s public safety messages remain the same:

  • Shelter in place during the storm, avoid travel during the storm unless absolutely necessary
  • Stay away from coastal areas
  • Drivers should take care, avoid unnecessary journeys, always expect the unexpected and travel at an appropriate speed at all times
  • Be vigilant and aware of potential for trees falling
  • If you encounter any fallen wires do not touch them, call the ESB emergency number 1800 372 999
  • Check your garden or yard for any loose materials, refuse bins, Christmas lights, etc and secure these where possible but only if safe to do so
  • Be aware that temporary structures outside hotels, pubs, etc may become unstable
  • Fallen trees on roads, localised flooding and other storm issues can be reported to Wexford County Council during office hours on 053 919 6000 or outside office hours on 1890 666 777
  • In the event of a significant emergency or threat to safety, phone 999

Here’s an update from Cork County Council:

Cork county remains under a Met Éireann Status Red wind warning until 9pm with severe and damaging wind gusts in excess of 130km/h expected.

River levels are also being monitored with flood barriers erected in Mallow and Fermoy on Monday.

The council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team and Crisis Management Team met this morning to discuss the situation.

At this time the worst affected area in Cork County is Bantry. Flooding also occurred on Back Street in Youghal which is now receding. There are multiple reports of trees down and roads flooded throughout the county.

Cork County Council continues to ask members of the public to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary activity. Council offices and facilities will be closed for the duration of the Red warning, however services will continue to be delivered from staff operating remotely.

Issues such as fallen trees, flooding and road damage should be reported by calling 021 4276891 between 9am and 5pm or via the council’s emergency out of hours number 021 4800048.

The strong winds may give rise to localised power outages. In the event of a disruption to power supply, please contact ESB Networks at 1850 372 999. Fallen or grounded wires should be avoided and the public are advised to call ESB in assisting with the identification of fallen wires.

In the event of a disruption to water supply, please contact Irish Water at 1850 278 278.

In the event of an emergency call 999 or 112 and request the Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Gardaí or Irish Coastguard as appropriate, the council advises.

Staying in Cork and a tree is down outside Kinsale on the Bandon Road.

Thanks to Sean O’Callaghan for sending us this photo.

IMG_20211207_105421 Source: Sean O'Callaghan

Send your weather photos to pictures@thejournal.ie. And remember, stay safe and indoors where possible!

It’s not just wind and rain some areas are experiencing, there is snow in Donegal.

ESB teams are “restoring supply remotely and working on site when safe to do so” as tens of thousands of properties remain without power.

The Wicklow Fire Service said a motorist in Newcastle had “a lucky escape” after a tree fell this morning.

Screenshot 2021-12-07 12.15.36 Source: RTÉ News/Twitter

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said Storm Barra is a “very severe weather event” but has caused “minimal damage so far”. However, he added: “The storm is not over.”

In terms of some Covid-19 testing and vaccination appointments being rescheduled because of the storm, O’Brien said a day or two of disruption will not have a major impact on the rollout of the booster programme.

The latest HSE updates can be viewed here.

Some good advice from Dublin Fire Brigade:

Thanks for staying with us so far today. I’m going to wrap up this live blog but my colleague Hayley Halpin will keep you up to date here.

Stay safe!

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