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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 21 February, 2020
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'Stay away from headlands, piers and cliffs': All you need to know about Storm Desmond

The ‘red alert’ weather warning kicked in at 6pm.

Updated at 8.20pm

rainfall1

STORM DESMOND HAS hit the north and west coast of Ireland bringing torrential rain and strong winds.

Met Éireann issued a status red weather warning earlier for Connacht, Donegal, Clare and Kerry, along with other warnings for several parts of the country. Authorities are advising the public to avoid nonessential travel to the affected areas.

Incessant falls of torrential rain are expected overnight and for all of Saturday as Storm Desmond hits the country. As much as 70mm of rain is expected to fall over this period, and even more on higher ground, the forecaster said.

The ‘red alert’ warning kicked in at 6pm tonight and lasts until 3am on Sunday morning.

Desmond is already causing trouble:

Roads and rail

Drivers are asked to exercise caution as there will be increased surface water on the roads and also a risk of trees and cables falling down.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising motorists to check forecasts and traffic updates before setting out on a journey.

“In extreme weather conditions it is best to avoid making a journey by road unless absolutely necessary,” the authority said.

If driving in such conditions is unavoidable be prepared. The golden rule is drive with care and caution – expect the unexpected.

The RSA also has this advice for driving in flooded conditions:

  • If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, DO NOT attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think.
  • After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance – this helps to dry the brakes. Sometimes roads can be closed due to their fragile state after wet weather or because they are blocked by flooding.
  • On narrow roads only one car at a time should go through the flooded area so as to avoid one flooding the other.
  • Watch out for washed out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen or falling objects
  • If you are inside a vehicle and water is rising rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately. If you have to leave your vehicle, be careful of strong currents and debris.

Irish Rail says services are running on all routes and the company will be providing updates all weekend:

Flights

There have been reports of planes being forced to abort landings and circle around due to the adverse conditions, with airports advising travellers to check with their airline about the status of their flights. Some flights have also been cancelled.

Source: Robert Loughran

Electricity 

Already, hundreds of homes are without power.

ESB Networks has said it is worried about gale force winds and urged customers to get in touch about any faults:

Storm Desmond nationwide

Though the status red warning is only in place for Connacht, Donegal, Clare and Kerry, status orange and yellow warnings are in place across the country.

The National Co-ordination Group for Severe Weather Emergencies met yesterday and this afternoon to discuss a response to the storm.

The group believes the level of rainfall will give rise to potentially severe local floods which may block roads in some areas.

“The combination of high winds and very heavy rainfall may give rise to very dangerous conditions and the public are advised to monitor the weather forecasts and heed public information advice for their specific area,” a statement from the group read.

Non-essential travel in the affected areas should be avoided. Where roads become flooded, conditions may be extremely hazardous and motorists are advised to approach flooded roads with extreme caution, as flood waters may be stronger and deeper than anticipated.
Local authorities are monitoring the situation and response arrangements are in place to deal with flood emergencies and to coordinate with An Garda Síochána and the HSE to deal with the anticipated impact of forecast rainfall and high winds this evening and tomorrow.
The National Co-ordination Group, with OPW and ESB, will continue to monitor the river levels as some rivers are expected to flood, with this very heavy rainfall coming on top of a wet month of November.

Source: WildAtlantic DinglePeninsula/YouTube

Be careful on the coast

The Irish Coast Guard is calling for people to use common sense and stay away from headlands, piers and cliffs that produce heavy spray.

The spray can be replaced by a life-ending wave in a blink of an eye.

“Before the storm gathers the Coast Guard is preparing to undertake a long range mission out to the southwest to medevac a critically ill crewman off a merchant vessel before the big seas hit. Best of luck,” the Facebook post concluded.

Here’s a full breakdown of all weather warnings in place:

  • Status red rainfall warning for Connacht, Donegal Clare, and Kerry.

Incessant falls of heavy rain overnight and for all of Saturday. Accumulations in excess of 70mm expected, with greater totals on higher ground. Valid from 6pm tonight to 3am Sunday morning.

  • Status orange wind warning for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo

Southwest winds with mean speed of 55 to 75 km/h will gust 100 to 120 km/h. Winds will be strongest for coastal areas. Valid from 9am today to 6pm Saturday.

  • Status orange rainfall warning for Cavan, Clare, Cork and Limerick

Incessant falls of heavy rain overnight and for all of Saturday. Accumulations of 50 to 70mm expected. Valid from 9pm tonight to 3am Sunday morning.

A Limerick City and County Council spokesperson said: “Spot flooding is considered likely due to the volume of rain that is forecast to fall on already saturated ground. We are advising property owners in flood prone locations and motorists to exercise vigilance during the period.”

  • Status yellow wind warning for Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford

Southwest winds with mean speeds of 50 to 65km/h will gust 90 to 100km/h. Valid from 3pm today to 9pm on Saturday.

  • Status yellow rainfall warning for Leinster, Monaghan, Tipperary and Waterford

Heavy rain tonight and all day Saturday. Rainfall totals of 30 to 50 mm. Valid from midnight tonight until midnight Saturday.

PastedImage-83113 Source: Screenshot via weather-forecast.com

Originally published 10.19am

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

Read: People were stuck in their cars for hours over flooding in Cork >

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Nicky Ryan

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