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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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Code Red: Schools told to close as major storm hits Ireland

Met Éireann has upgraded the wind warning for Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry to red for the remainder of today and tomorrow morning.

The Curragh Plains in County Kildare, this morning, as large sections of the country got a covering of snow during the night.
The Curragh Plains in County Kildare, this morning, as large sections of the country got a covering of snow during the night.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated: 17.12

THE GOVERNMENT HAS held a press conference at the National Emergency Coordination Centre to discuss the current severe weather being felt across the country.

Met Éireann has upgraded the wind warning for Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry to red for the remainder of today and tomorrow morning.

The rest of the country is under a status orange warning and there is a yellow rain warning for Connacht, Donegal, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. There is a chance of localised flooding.

Snow fell across the country overnight, causing problems on the roads this morning. More snow is forecast over the weekend. High winds will continue until beyond the weekend.

Gerald Fleming from Met Éireann said southern counties will be most affected by winds this evening, while the west of the country will bear the brunt of high winds after midnight, with severe conditions continuing until tomorrow morning.

He said “the storm will be at its most ferocious” between 6-9am tomorrow.

Fleming said the conditions due tonight are not comparable to the very severe storm that happened on 12 February 2014.

With care, people can keep themselves safe.

John Ferris from the Garda Press Office advised people to exercise “extreme caution” near water ways and cliff walks, adding that bringing children to look at the high waves is “totally unacceptable and irresponsible”.

Seán Hogan, chair of the Government’s National Coordination Group that deals with severe weather, said people should avoid all uncessary travel as trees will be uprooted and debris will be flying around.

Hogan encouraged people to check in on their neighbours if possible this evening.

Power lines

ESB Networks has told the public to leave any fallen wires alone.

The company said in a statement:

Safety of the public is our highest priority and customers should never approach or touch fallen or low-hanging wires and powerlines. Please ring 1850 372 999 to report these, keep others away from them and also alert the gardaí or emergency services.

“ESB Networks have all of our staff on stand-by to be mobilised when and where required and these will be supplemented by partner organisations such as, our sister networks company Northern Ireland Electricity and contractors if required.”

Schools

The Department of Education and Skills’ advice to schools is that they should consider not opening where a Status Red weather warning related to wind is forecast to coincide with the period/s during which students and staff would be expected to be travelling to and from school.

Fleming said weather warnings will likely be extended after noon tomorrow, but at lower levels of severity.

Additional reporting: Órla Ryan

Originally published: 15.40

Read: Your Pictures: Gorgeous snow blankets country but motorists face meltdown

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