Latest: 'National event' Storm Lorenzo expected to bring floods and damage property

Latest: 'National event' Storm Lorenzo expected to bring floods and damage property
Image: Met Éireann

Latest: The expected arrival of Storm Lorenzo will be a "national event" which will have significant and disruptive impacts on parts of the country, according to the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick from 6pm on Thursday to 3am on Friday, with gusts of in excess of 130 kilometres per hour.

A yellow wind and rain warning is in place nationwide between Thursday evening and Friday morning.

The Government is warning of tidal and spot flooding, power outages and property damage when Storm Lorenzo arrives in Ireland.

Met Éireann said it will bring a “dangerous storm surge” to western and southwestern coastal areas due to a combination of very low pressure, onshore storm force winds, high tides and high sea swell.

Local authorities around the country are making preparations for the storm's arrival and people have been warned to stay safe by the emergency services.

7.21pm: In the six counties - Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick - that are covered by the Status Orange weather warning, city and county councils are making preparations for when Storm Lorenzo hits tomorrow.

Cork City Council has issued flood warnings for low-lying quays in the city centre, but it is expected that while high winds and flooding may affect the city, the storm is more likely to effect the coastal areas of southwest and west Cork as the storm sweeps up the western seaboard.

Cork County Council have warned people living along the coast and in low-lying coastal towns/villages to take extra care in advance of tomorrow morning's high tide from 7am onwards.

They said that high tide time could be extended due to the storm surge that is expected with the winds and swell associated with storm Lorenzo.

Kerry County Council’s Severe Weather Management Team has said that flooding and damage in coastal areas is likely.

There is also a strong likelihood of fallen trees, debris on roads, and power outages around the county.

They have asked people to securing outdoor items or property which are susceptible to high winds as soon as possible.

In Limerick city, there are flood defences erected along the River Shannon.

The Local Co-ordination Group also convened a meeting comprising of Limerick City and County Council, HSE Mid West and An Garda Síochána to discuss the storm.

They said they will continue to monitor the storm very closely.

Clare County Council are warning of disruptive winds, falling trees and flooding.

It is advising the public not to plan any unnecessary journeys for the duration of the warning, as well as asking motorists to drive with caution and to be alert for any debris on roads during Friday.

Mayo County Council is also urging the public to be aware of the potential of fallen trees, branches, electricity wires, debris on the roads and walk-ways and flooding in certain areas.

They said that coastal areas pose a very high risk currently from wind and high seas.

Galway County Council will notify the public of all contingency arrangements as soon as possible and it will include arrangements for the deployment and collection of sandbags, potential road and car park closures, public advisories, and other relevant information.

5.21pm: The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint warning as Storm Lorenzo approaches.

While the severity of the storm is not fully known and its path is changeable the organisations have urged mariners to monitor all sea area forecasts by Met Eireann, be prepared and to take heed of the advice and sea conditions.

Leisure craft users are also being advised to avoid any unnecessary sea activity.

In addition, walkers are advised to avoid any exposed areas, including seafront walkways, as they may be hit by sudden gusts exposing themselves to unnecessary danger.

Coast Guard Operations Manager Derek Flanagan said: “We wish to remind everybody to take note of the weather forecasts and we are reminding walkers to ‘Stay Back – Stay Dry – Stay High’."

Coast Guard Operations Manager Derek Flanagan.
Coast Guard Operations Manager Derek Flanagan.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillon added: “Our lifeboat crews have been busy this year and are ever ready to answer any call for help.

"However, they would always prefer that people take advice and stay safe during storm warnings than put themselves and others at risk by their actions."

    Public safety messages:

  • Members of the public are being urged to remain aware of local conditions by checking MetÉireann.ie, their Local Authority website, and local radio for information during the severe weather.
  • Roads users should exercise caution while using the roads and heed the advice of both an Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority when travelling during the severe weather.
  • Transport users are advised to check transport operator websites and social media sites for any travel updates. Those who are travelling by air are encouraged to check with their operator for the most up to date flight information.

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 National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) has said that any National Parks, National Monuments or Nature Reserves in counties Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick will be closed from from Thursday afternoon to Friday.

    They are:

  • 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
  • Coole/Garryland Nature Reserve

3.42pm: Crisis management teams across the country have begun clearing drains, gullies and preparing sandbags, in advance of the arrival of Storm Lorenzo.

Longford council's Paddy Mahon, who represents local authorities on the emergency committee, says flood preparations are underway.

Mr Mahon said: "The counties along the west coast where those orange warnings are in place at the moment will be preparing flood defences and defences for infrastructure and for buildings."

Meath County Council says it expects that “wind may be our main enemy with possibility of fallen trees which is impossible to predict particularly as trees are still in full leaf.”

The council said municipal district staff “are ensuring they have sufficient stocks of sandbags and already have stocks of bags filled (and) known risk areas are being checked for blocked gullies.”

It also said a public information call is going out “to land owners to check drains particularly near roads, pumps are on standby if needed, the Fire Service are ready to respond if required and Civil Defence volunteers are available - all of course subject to risk assessments on safety to deploy at any given time.”

Cavan County Council said its multi-disciplinary severe weather team met again this morning.

A spokesperson said: “Municipal District crews, Civil Defence, and Cavan County Fire Service are on standby to respond to any incidents that may arise throughout Thursday and the early hours of Friday morning.”

“With saturated ground underfoot and trees still in full leaf, there is increased potential for this storm to cause more damage than a storm of equal strength occurring later in the year, therefore members of the public are asked to take appropriate precautions and avoid unnecessary travel during the storm.”

It advised that if travel is essential, “please be vigilant for falling debris and obstacles on the road. Do not under any circumstances approach any fallen power lines.”

And the Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr Shane P O’Reilly has asked people to heed the advice of State agencies and avoid unnecessary journeys.

“This storm presents a much greater risk of trees falling onto roadways, so I would appeal to motorists to stay at home as the storm reaches Cavan unless absolutely necessary,” he said.

Elaine Keogh

2.51pm: Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare said its staff will be available to support householders in areas affected.

The Humanitarian Assistance Scheme will be available to people whose homes are damaged by flooding or severe weather events and 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 is not available to businesses or for losses that are covered by insurance.

Anyone in receipt of social welfare who is not in a position to attend Department appointments due to the bad weather should contact their local Intreo office.

2.39pm: A status orange wind warning and a yellow rain warning have been issued for Thursday evening as Storm Lorenzo is expected to make landfall in Ireland.

A yellow rainfall warning for Ireland will be in place between 9am on Thursday and 9am on Friday.

The status orange wind warning for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick will be in place from 6pm on Thursday until 3am on Friday.

Met Éireann said spells of heavy rain, in excess of 50mm in parts of the west and north west, will result in flooding.

The worst affected areas are expected to be in the south and west of the country, with counties Mayo, Sligo, Kerry and Clare to be hit.

In Northern Ireland, the Met Office is warning of transport disruption and power cuts on Thursday and Friday.

It said the storm, which is due to hit Northern Ireland on Thursday, is expected to bring heavy rain and wind speeds of up to 60mph in coastal areas.

Lorenzo is currently a hurricane but by the time it reaches Ireland on Thursday, it will be downgraded to a storm, Met Éireann has said.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said Storm Lorenzo will have an “unpredictable impact” on Ireland but flooding and power outages are likely to occur.

Mr Murphy was speaking at today’s meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group in Dublin to discuss preparations and contingency plans for the storm.

Latest: 'National event' Storm Lorenzo expected to bring floods and damage property

“This weather event will be different in different parts of the country. It’s not one homogenous weather event. People need to pay attention to local conditions and act accordingly,” he said.

Mr Murphy said Lorenzo is around 20 hours away from Ireland and things may change in that time.

“This is a national event in terms of being a wind and rain status yellow. Six counties on the west coast, notice that’s orange. This is where our primary concern is, in terms of wave surges and coastal flooding.”

Mr Murphy urged people to check in on their neighbours and the elderly this evening.

“Make sure that they have batteries, torches, phone chargers in their cars and their Eircode to hand as well, in case of an emergency,” he said.

Derek Flanagan, of the Irish Coast Guard, appealed to people to stay back from coastal roads and piers in the counties covered by the status orange warning.

“Our advice to people is, stay back, stay high and stay dry,” said Mr Flanagan.

Brian Farrell, of the Road Safety Authority, warned of the dangers of cross-winds and urged motorists to check their tyres and not drive through flooded roads.

    The RSA has the following advice for motorists in windy conditions:

  • Prepare for the winter by keeping your vehicle well maintained and your windscreen washers are adequately filled before you take to the road.
  • Beware of objects blown out onto the road. Expect road conditions to change quickly in heavy rain and high winds including hidden potholes etc so reduce your speed.
  • 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.
  • Drivers should allow extra space allow between themselves and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
  • Motorists should also be aware that cyclists may need more road space than normal due to flooding, fallen debris and wind gusts, give them plenty of space to navigate any obstacles that may be in front of them
  • Drive with dipped headlights at all times.

Irish airports are advising passengers traveling over the next few days to check the status of their flight with airlines.

Cork Airport says strong winds may lead to disruptions, while Dublin Airport says it's too early to tell if its flights will be affected.

Ireland West Airport says most of its schedule will be completed before an orange wind warning comes into effect along the western coast.

Shannon says it's monitoring conditions and will update passengers on any potential impacts.

PA

Earlier (10.06am): Three weather warnings have been issued by Met Éireann as Hurricane Lorenzo approaches Ireland, including a status orange wind warning for six western counties.

Status yellow wind and rain warnings will apply to the whole country from 9am Thursday morning until Friday morning.

Wind speeds will average between 50kph and 65kph, with gusts as high as 100kph "resulting in some disruptive impacts".

Spells of heavy rain, in excess of 50mm in parts of the west and northwest, are expected to result in some flooding.

Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, and Mayo are subject to a status orange wind warning from 6pm Thursday evening.

Winds will reach mean speeds of 65kph to 80kph, with gusts generally between 100kph and 130kph.

Gusts will be stronger in coastal regions, where storm surges are expected to cause coastal flooding and damage.

The orange warning is valid until 3am on Friday morning, while the status yellow wind warning runs until 6am and the rain warning until 9am.

“I will be telling people to follow the advice from the National Emergency Coordination Group, from Met Éireann and from the local authorities,” Minister Eoghan Murphy told The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.

The storm will have a different impact on various parts of the country, he explained, and he urged the public to specifically heed alerts from local crisis management teams.

There is a very serious risk of coastal flooding, he warned.

We will be trying to get more details and advice for the public.

The National Emergency Coordination Group is guided by Met Éireann as to the level of alerts. It is a cascading effect, he explained, from Red Alert down to Yellow Alert and that determines decisions such as when public transport should stop.

One of the benefits of Hurricane Lorenzo is that it will hit Ireland late in the evening, he said, when, hopefully, most people will be home and safe. Protocols for the homeless are in place, he added.

When asked about ‘thrillseekers’ such as surfers, the Minister advised: “If the Coastguard says you should not be in the water, you shouldn’t be in the water.”

Updated with further information at 2.06pm.

Latest: 'National event' Storm Lorenzo expected to bring floods and damage property

Earlier (7.39am): Crisis management teams on standby as Hurricane Lorenzo moves towards Ireland

The head of forecasting at Met Éireann, Evelyn Cusack, has warned that trees could come down across the country on Thursday afternoon as Storm Lorenzo crosses the country.

The worst affected areas are likely to be counties along the western and north-western seaboard with severe coastal flooding a distinct possibility, she told Newstalk Breakfast.

A Yellow Alert will be issued from noon on Thursday for most of the country, she added, with Orange Alerts likely from Kerry to Donegal along the western seaboard.

It is going to be a very strong storm with low pressure which means the seas will be very high.

There will be heavy rain, fallen trees, coastal flooding and possible loss of power. As trees are still in full leaf, they are a particular danger and could exacerbate flooding.

The storm will lose intensity as it crosses the country, but the “impacts” could still be quite high, she added.

The coast guard and local authorities will issue warnings as appropriate, said Ms Cusack.

Paddy Mahon, CEO of Longford Co Council and a member of the National Emergency Coordination Group, said: "The potential for Storm Lorenzo to impact on Ireland has moved from possible to highly probable.

"It is being taken very seriously across the agencies that are the National Emergency Coordination Group. All local authorities and all agencies will be awaiting the update from Met Éireann.

"Since Monday, councils have been examining the weather profile. All local authorities will be convening their severe assessment teams today.

He expects that local authorities will tailor their responses according to the level of warning and carry out appropriate preventative measures over the next 36 hours.

"This is a very fast-moving weather event," he added. "We all have an obligation to manage and mind the trees and deal with dangerous trees. It's inevitable that trees will fall, they will have an impact on power lines, possibly block roads, and they could contribute to drainage issues and cause unintended flooding."

Latest: 'National event' Storm Lorenzo expected to bring floods and damage property

Earlier (7.01am): Crisis management teams were put on standby last night as Hurricane Lorenzo continues to make its way towards Ireland.

It continues to travel north-eastwards across the Atlantic, with Met Éireann due to give an update on the situation this morning.

High seas, strong winds, and heavy rain are expected when the hurricane makes landfall as a powerful storm tomorrow.

At a meeting of the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy outlined what's happening today:

"Met Éireann will be updating their warning advisory from yesterday given what they'll have seen from their modelling over the course of last night and into this morning.

"When they have that advice, we'll convene again as the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group with all the relevant stakeholders and see what actions we can take on foot of that updated advice."

Mr Murphy said coastal areas are due to be worst affected as “very significant storm wave surges” are expected which could be “quite ferocious” and “very dangerous”.

He said the storm could also bring high winds and potentially cause flooding in some areas.

“People will recall we’ve had strong wind events before, Storm Ally, Storm Ophelia, and how dangerous it was in terms of trees, heavy with leaves, falling, bringing down power lines, causing flooding in certain areas,” he said.

Mr Murphy said every local authority has been contacted to ask them to monitor Met Éireann’s forecasts, and prepare for storm impacts by activating crisis management and local co-ordination arrangements.

The public are advised to stay away from coastal areas during this period as there will be high seas.

Very strong winds are predicted which will make driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles.

Road users have been warned to pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees and flying debris as trees are in full leaf.

In Dublin, the public have been urged to use an online link to alert authorities to those sleeping rough during stormy weather.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is on standby with its community welfare officers ready to assist with damage and recovery due to the impacts of the storm.

- Digital desk. Additional reporting by PA

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