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storm's a comin'

Storm Lorenzo: Emergency group chair says we don't need to stock up on bread and bottled water

Lorenzo is expected to hit Ireland tomorrow evening.

LAST UPDATE | 2 Oct 2019

map Met Éireann Met Éireann

A STATUS ORANGE wind warning has been issued for six counties as Storm Lorenzo approaches Ireland.

There will be over 50mm of rain in western and northern areas when the storm hits, Met Éireann warned.

The Orange warning – the second most serious that can be issued by Met Éireann – applies to Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. 

Met Éireann said: “Southwesterly winds veering westerly will reach mean speeds 65 to 80km/h with gusts generally of 100 to 130km/h, higher in coastal regions.

Storm surges will produce coastal flooding and damage.

The warning will take effect from 6pm tomorrow evening and apply until 3am on Friday morning. 

Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack said this afternoon following a meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) that, at this stage, it is not believed that Lorenzo will have to be updated to a red level alert.

“We don’t think so at this stage,” she said. “We’re getting quite close now but our model will update this afternoon and closer to midnight.”

Cusack also urged people to listen to the advice of local authorities. 

Some schools may decide to close on Friday as a precautionary measure. 

In a statement issued at 4pm, the Department of Education said all schools in the counties where orange warnings have been issued should “remain vigilant”. 

“In all events, and if in any doubt, schools and other education settings should err on the side of caution. Schools are empowered to make closure decisions if, in their judgment in the interests of the safety of the school community, it is prudent to do so,” the department said, urging education centres to look out for updates from Met Éireann, local authorities and gardaí, as well as local radio. 

Earlier, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) advised members of the public “not to visit any national parks, national monuments or nature reserves whilst the Status Orange is in place”. 

A number of parks including Connemara National Park, Killarney House and Gardens, and Knockma Wood, near Tuam, in Galway will all be closed tomorrow afternoon. 

Separately, two Status Yellow warnings have been issued nationwide and will come into effect during the storm.

A Status Yellow rainfall warning applies to the whole country – which will result in some flooding – from 9am tomorrow morning until 9am on Friday morning.

Storm Lorenzo will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges, Met Éireann said. 

This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts.

A Status Yellow wind warning also applies to the whole of the country from 9am tomorrow morning until 6am on Friday morning.

Southeasterly gusts of between 50 km/h and 100 km/h will be experienced across the country but these will be stronger along coastal regions.

Met Éireann has said that because trees are mostly in full leaf with a large surface area, even moderate strength winds can bring down weakened trees or tree limbs.

In addition, some trees may be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment. With more rain forecast with Storm Lorenzo some disruption due to falling trees and branches is likely.

With the potential for falling leaves to block drains and gullies, some surface flooding is possible.

River levels are currently elevated across the country and the rainfall may lead to river flooding, especially in parts of the midlands and west. River levels will continue to rise after Storm Lorenzo has passed.

After the NECG meeting, gardaí warned motorists that driving conditions will be hazardous and asked them to consider their journey if necessary.

They also warned people not to be tempted by a weather photo opportunity or a selfie along the coast in the conditions.

The ESB, meanwhile, has said that power outages are expected on Thursday evening into Friday morning.

The Defence Forces are also on standby and will be available to help with sandbagging in affected areas.

At this afternoon’s press conference, the chair of the NECG Keith Leonard was asked if people should be stocking up on bottled water and loaves of bread.

He replied: “No, we’re not in that space.”

The powerful hurricane has weakened as it crossed the Atlantic but it will still be a strong extra-tropical storm by the time it reaches Irish coasts. 

People have been urged to check local weather forecasts and take all necessary precautions ahead of the storm. 

With reporting from Cónal Thomas, Christina Finn

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