Coastal areas brace for major storm

Waves up to 10m high, driven by winds approaching hurricane strength, were bearing down on south and west coastal areas overnight, threatening to compound the devastation of recent days.

Weather watching in Greystones, Wicklow, yesterday afternoon. Pic: Nick Bradshaw

Storm Christine built in the Atlantic off the south-west coast throughout yesterday evening before its outer edges struck land after 9pm.

The waves were expected to rise to above 10m off the west coast and 8m off the south coast, and they are set to continue to grow today.

Met Éireann warned of a significant threat to coastal communities as the force of the sea takes its toll over the next 48 hours.

There were warnings for motorists, many of whom will return to work today.

Met Éireann also issued a warning for inland areas because Storm Christine will bring large amounts of rain onto already saturated lands.

This will increase the chances of spot flooding.

Clare and Galway were due to experience the roughest seas last night.

These areas spent yesterday trying to recuperate following the winds of recent days which ripped apart promenades, sea walls, and roadways in coastal communities.

Cemeteries across south Connemara in particular were severely hit as roads and pathways were ripped up and boulders thrown up by the sea smashed into graves and monuments.

At Muirios graveyard in Baile na hAbhann, coffins and human bones were exposed by the high seas which crashed onto the burial ground.

“It is distressing for everyone to see such damage. A huge wall which was protecting the graveyard has been knocked and the sea just spilled in and did all the damage”, said local senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

There were concerns that the graveyard at Barr a’ Doire in Carraroe would suffer a similar fate after a severe pounding in recent days.

“If the tide comes in again onto the graveyard in Barr a’ Doire, I’m very concerned that there will be further damage to graves which have already been severely affected by the weekend storms”, said Mr Ó Clochartaigh.

The roadway to Gurteen Cemetery in Ballyconneely was also torn up by the gale-force winds and pounding seas.

A number of families in the Carna area were left isolated after the storm floods washed away a roadway. They were forced to travel across flooded fields yesterday to access local services.

The local Mace Pier also suffered structural damage and there were fears that the damage would be more extensive with further storm force winds and high seas expected overnight.

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