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Warnings from Coast Guard as Storm Barbara rolls in

The north-west coast will be most affected by the storm, with gusts of up to 120km/h expected.

Image: Laura Hutton/

Updated 8.15am

MET ÉIREANN HAS issued two national weather warnings which come into effect this morning as a winter storm sweeps across Ireland.

Storm Barbara has brought heavy wind and rain, and will impact most on the north-west, where there is a Status Orange wind warning in place for coastal regions and areas of high ground in Donegal, Galway and Mayo. Met Éireann said it will be “very windy” with severe gusts of between 100 and 120 km/h.

A status yellow warning is in place for the rest of the country, with gusts of up to 110 km/h expected today. Both of these warnings kicked in at 6am this morning and are in place until 6pm this evening.

A number of ferry crossings were cancelled yesterday and companies are advising customers to check their websites if they are due to travel today.

Coast Guard warning

The Coast Guard is warning people to take care when out on the coast today, saying that anyone planning on engaging in any coastal activities should first check that it is safe to do. It says people should “be mindful of the risks and life threatening dangers that can arise without warning”.

Many people will be engaging in outdoor activities along the coastline, be it on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or other coastal areas.
The simple safety message is; Stay Back, Stay High, Stay Dry.

With regard to Christmas Day swims, the Coast Guard said it is urging the public to only participate in organised swims where medical support and lifeguards are available.

Lone swimming should be avoided and all swimmers should be cognisant that time in the water should be kept to a minimum as even the most experienced of swimmers can easily succumb to cramp or cold water shock.

The three Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centres based in Malin, Valentia and Dublin, along with the Coast Guard Helicopter service and Coast Guard Volunteer units will all be operating over the holiday period.

If you see anybody in danger at sea, on the coast or on cliffs, call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Safe on the roads

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has advised road users to exercise caution and to check local weather and traffic conditions before setting out on a trip.

It is telling road users:

  • Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected. Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road;
  • Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds;
  • Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists;
  • Drive with dipped headlights at all times;
  • Check tyres and consider replacing them if the thread depth is below 3mm;
  • It takes longer to stop in wet conditions so slow down and leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front;
  • Take special care when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility;
  • Be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h.

With added risks posed by wet or flooded roads the RSA has the following advice:

  • 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;
  • Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic;
  • Watch out for washed out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen or falling objects.

Advice to pedestrians and cyclists:

  • Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
  • Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

Read: Some ferries cancelled tomorrow as Storm Barbara gets ready to roll in>

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