A status orange weather warning has been issued for the west coast as Storm Jorge approaches Ireland this weekend.
The wind warning will be in place for counties Galway, Clare, Kerry, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal from Saturday morning into the early hours of Sunday.
The storm, which was named by the Spanish Met Office, will bring winds of up to 85km per hour, with gusts potentially reaching 130km per hour.
A yellow wind warning will be in place for the rest of the country.
Meanwhile, there is a yellow rain warning taking effect on Friday. It will be in place in Munster, Connacht and Donegal.
The Defence Forces are on standby to provide more help in flooded areas as further heavy rain is forecast in the coming days. It is the first time the forces have been called in to assist since the recent spell of wet weather began.
A number of roads across the country are flooded, with the west the worst affected. Roads in parts of Galway, Roscommon and Sligo have been closed as a result. Diversions are in place in parts of Tipperary, and near its borders with Galway and Offaly, due to flooding.
Commandant James O'Hara told Midlands 103 radio station (which covers counties Offaly, Westmeath and Laois) that the Defence Forces have already provided assistance in the midlands and southwest. “Our personnel have deployed in two primary regions. The first one was in County Limerick near Castleconnell and the second one in the Carnakilla area of County Westmeath.”
He said they are ready to help out wherever they are needed. “We will be on standby to respond to any request we receive from local authorities.
The AA is advising motorists to never drive through floodwater unless confident that it is not too deep for your vehicle.
Meanwhile there are concerns over the possible halting of train services on the Dublin Sligo rail line after Irish Rail warned that the service could be suspended as a result of rising flood waters.
According to a spokesperson the company has invested in significant work on the line in the Carrick on Shannon, and Dromod area in recent years and had raised the line in the areas that are prone to flooding during adverse weather conditions. The line is also prone to flooding as it passes near Lough Owel on the outskirts of Mullingar.
There are 19 locals roads impassable in the Athlone area, eight in the mid Roscommon area and four in Boyle area. Roads remain passable in Leitrim and largely in Longford, but land access to some islands on Lough Ree have been cut off.
Eugene Dwyer Senior Engineer at Roscommon County Council says that while water is still on the rise in the rivers, it’s not at the same pace as earlier this week.
However, concern is now turning to turloughs, where levels are steadily on the increase from ground water sources, in cases of turloughs, water rises at a slower level and takes longer to clear.
Clare County Council is to lodge a fresh planning application next month to construct flood defences there, following a number of delays that have hit the project in recent years.
Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran is calling for a Farm Recovery Grant to assist farmers struggling with livestock and damage to farm buildings during the current flooding events.
The grants would cover a number of repair costs, including removing debris, re-cultivation and replacing damaged field gates. Minister Moran also believes that the fund should also be made available to farming communities to offset the increase in fodder costs as a result of the bad weather.
“The UK Government have launched a similar fund in recent days and I believe that we should do the same here,” said Minister Moran. “Some €2m has been made available by the UK Government to support their farming community and I think that is something we need to look at here also.”
“The fund would simply help affected farmers get back on their feet. In recent days I have seen at first hand the impacts that the current spate of flooding is having on farming communities right across the country.”
“Government must recognise this unprecedented weather and support farmers following extreme flooding events,” added Minister Moran. “The money could be used to help cover unexpected costs such as buying increased levels of fodder, rebuilding fences and stone walls and recultivating damaged fields.”
Addtional reporting by Vivienne Clarke