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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 22 November, 2019
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Lorenzo is going to sweep in across the country later today - Here's what you need to know

Schools in Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick to “err on side of caution” on possible closures today.

STORM LORENZO IS set to batter the west of the country as it sweeps in across Ireland later today. 

Met Éireann has warned that the effects of Lorenzo will begin to be felt across the country this morning. 

Status Yellow wind and rainfall warnings have been issued for the entire country and will kick in at 9am.

The wind warning will remain in effect until 6am tomorrow. Met Éireann has warned southeasterly winds will reach mean speeds 50 to 65km/h with gusts to 100km/h, resulting in some disruptive impacts.

The rainfall warning will remain in place for 24 hours. Spells of heavy rain, in excess of 50mm in parts of the west and northwest, are expected to result in some flooding. 

A Status Orange wind warning for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick will kick in at 6pm this evening and will remain valid until 3am tomorrow. 

Southwesterly winds veering westerly are expected to reach mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h with gusts of 100 to 130km/h. 

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

NECC 984_90581595 Head of forecasting at Met Éireann Evelyn Cusack briefing the media ahead of storm Lorenzo Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

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.

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.

Preparations

Local authorities have activated their crisis management teams and local coordination groups in preparation for the arrival of Storm Lorenzo.

Preventative actions taken to date include clearing drains and gullies and preparation of sandbags.

People are also being urged to check in on isolated and vulnerable neighbours and family members over the coming days. 

The public is being advised to stay away from coastal areas during the period of the storm. The Irish Coast Guard are appealing to people to ‘stay back, stay high, stay dry’. 

Walkers are being advised to avoid any exposed areas, including seafront walkways, as they may be hit by sudden gusts. 

  • If you see someone in difficulty or are concerned about somebody’s whereabouts on or near the water use VHF channel 16 or dial 112, and ask for the Coast Guard.

The NECG has warned that the predicted strong winds will make driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles. 

Road users are being asked to pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees and flying debris.  

The National Parks and Wildlife Service had advised the public not to visit any national parks, national monuments or nature reserves while the Status Orange warning is in place. 

The following locations will be closed from this afternoon until tomorrow:

  • Connemara National Park
  • Knockma Wood, near Tuam, Co Galway
  • Derryclare Nature Reserve
  • Wild Nephin, Ballycroy National Park
  • Old Head Nature Reserve
  • Laughil Wood, near Pontoon, Co Mayo
  • Dromore Woods Nature Reserve, Co Clare
  • Killarney House and Gardens
  •  Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry
  • Coole/Garryland Nature Reserve
  • Glengarriff Nature Reserve, Co. Cork

“The NPWS would ask the public for their ongoing cooperation on this matter by not entering these sites for the duration of these weather warnings,” it said.

Education and businesses

The Department of Education has warned that schools and all education centres in areas affected by the Status Orange alert should remain vigilant and keep themselves on top of any updates from Met Éireann, local authorities, local radio and gardaí. 

In all events, and if in any doubt, schools and other education settings should err on the side of caution, the Department warned. 

Schools are authorised to make closure decisions if, in their judgment in the interests of the safety of the school community, it is prudent to do so.

All decisions about school closures will be informed by, as well as prevailing and predicted conditions, any damage that might have been caused to school buildings overnight or at any time during the storm, and whether such damage might present a risk to safety.

Similarly, other education settings should make closure decisions based on those considerations, according to the Department.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as it progresses and will follow any advice from the National Emergency Coordination Group,” the Department said. 

In relation to businesses, the NECG said yesterday that employers should plan in conjunction with their employees to make arrangements taking account of anticipated travel conditions today and tomorrow. 

Health and welfare services

The HSE confirmed that, as of yesterday evening, it is anticipated its services will continue as scheduled today and tomorrow. 

“We are watching the situation very closely and our HSE area crisis management teams have been activated should weather conditions change,” the HSE said. 

Meanwhile, staff from the Department of Social Protection are to be available to support householders in areas affected by Lorenzo. 

The humanitarian assistance scheme will be activated as necessary, the Department said. 

This scheme provides assistance to people whose homes are damaged by flooding or severe weather events, who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, household items and in some instances structural repair.

The scheme is means tested and assistance is not provided for losses which are covered by insurance or for commercial and business losses.

Power

As strong winds are expected across the country later today, it is likely some homes and businesses may experience some power outages. 

While you have power you may want to:

  • Collect torches, candles, matches and/or lighters and place them somewhere you can find them easily if the power goes off
  • Have spare batteries? Dig them out and add them to your store
  • Charge your phone
  • Charge any laptops or tablets you may have in the house
  • Stay in touch with the ESB Networks Powercheck site for updates on when you may be reconnected
  • For emergencies you can contact ESB Networks on 1850 372 999 or 021 2382410
  • Don’t approach fallen wires under any circumstances – these are likely to be live

Source: ESB Networks/YouTube

Homeless

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has said it has activated its extreme weather protocol and is ready to respond to ensure homeless people at risk are sheltered for the duration of any extreme weather event. 

In the event of extreme weather in the coming days, the DRHE said arrangements are in place with service providers to put additional temporary accommodation in place across a range of existing services. 

In addition, the Dublin street outreach service, operated by Dublin Simon, is out engaging with those at risk of rough sleeping in order to provide shelter for anyone who needs it.

“We are confident that there will be sufficient additional emergency spaces to cater for those that require it and we are extremely grateful for the cooperation and assistance from our partner agencies in the charity sector,” the DRHE said.

The Dublin Street Outreach Service can be contact from 7am to 1am on 01 872 0185.

Members of the public who come across a person at risk of rough sleeping is asked to notify the relevant service via this online form.

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