Storm Lorenzo: Minister warns of ‘ferocious’ wave surges to coastal areas

Storm Lorenzo: Minister warns of ‘ferocious’ wave surges to coastal areas
Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Latest: Storm Lorenzo could cause “ferocious” and “very dangerous” storm and wave surges around coastal areas when it reaches Ireland later this week.

Met Éireann has warned of very wet and potentially stormy conditions over parts of the country on Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Lorenzo.

The Government’s emergency task force met today to discuss contingency measures for the approaching storm.

Lorenzo is currently a large and powerful hurricane and its hurricane and tropical storm-force winds are expected to expand further during the next few days.

Although Lorenzo is currently a hurricane, it will be a storm when it hits Ireland on Thursday.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who convened a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, told RTÉ news the severity of the storm once it hits Ireland is “still to be determined”.

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.

Mr Murphy said more detailed public safety messaging will be issued on Wednesday morning when the group reconvenes and throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

- Press Association

Homeless charity calls for immediate response as emergency meeting underway

Infrared satellite image of Storm Lorenzo. Picture: Met Éireann
Infrared satellite image of Storm Lorenzo. Picture: Met Éireann

Update 4.50pm: A meeting of the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group is underway in Dublin city centre, as Met Éireann continues to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Lorenzo.

The forecaster has warned there’s a “high probability” that it will track close to or over Ireland on Thursday.

The National Emergency Co-Ordination Group brings together the likes of the OPW, Met Éireann, the Gardaí and Coast Guard to prepare a national response to emerging issues such as extreme weather.

Officials began arriving shortly before 4pm for the specially convened meeting, organised by Minister Eoghan Murphy, ahead of Storm Lorenzo hitting Irish shores.

Met Éireann has stressed it will not be a hurricane when it arrives on Thursday but could bring high seas, severe winds and heavy rain.

All local authorities have been urged to monitor forecasts, and to prepare their Crisis Management arrangements.

A further update is due once today’s meeting ends.

Meanwhile, Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) has said that they have been inundated with homeless people "soaked to the skin" looking for a hot drink, some food and a change of clothes.

The ICCH have been in regular contact with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) who say it is confident it will be able to find enough temporary beds for those who need them during Hurricane Lorenzo.

However, ICHH is critical of the response to the poor weather conditions so far.

"The DRHE simply have no plan, there are no contingency announcements, no extra beds and no additional supports in place," said Anthony Flynn, CEO of ICHH.

"The plan released by the DRHE isn’t sufficient and doesn’t clearly specify what measures are in place.

"Hurricane Lorenzo is due to hit the city and those who are forced to sleep rough will be worst affected.

"On average 170 people per night are sleeping rough because they simply cannot access a bed.

"Extended 24 hour services should be put into operation until this storm passes.

"The DRHE and Department are putting lives at risk unless an immediate response is put on place ensure nobody is left out in the storm.”

Met Éireann: 'High probability' Lorenzo will bring 'severe winds and heavy rain'

Update 1.50pm: Met Éireann have issued a weather advisory for "potential stormy conditions" on Thursday and Friday.

The forecaster said there is a "high probability" that Storm Lorenzo will track close to or over Ireland later on Thursday and early Friday, giving "high seas, severe winds and heavy rain".

The advisory is applicable from midday on Thursday to midday on Friday.

They will issue weather warnings tomorrow morning.

Update: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will convene a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group this afternoon as Hurricane Lorenzo approaches.

Met Éireann has said it is on standby to issue a Status Orange weather warning for certain areas, with a a Status Red warning a possibility for the west and north-west coast.

The ESB, Gardaí, public transport operators and local authorities have been told to be ready to activate their crisis management plans.

Update: Met Éireann has said it is on standby to issue a Status Orange weather warning for certain areas as Hurricane Lorenzo approaches Ireland.

The forecaster has said that Hurricane Lorenzo is expected to weaken into a tropical storm as it approached Ireland.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, tropical storms can have maximum wind speeds of up to 118km/hr.

Met Éireann have released infrared satellite imagery showing Hurricane Lorenzo slowly moving north east.

The National Emergency Co-Ordination group has yet to be convened for a meeting, but the ESB, Gardaí, public transport operators and local authorities have been told to be ready to activate their crisis management plans.

Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann, said they are waiting to see how the storm develops before issuing a weather warning.

Ms Cusack said: "So while it will give some very wet and very windy weather, perhaps Orange Weather warnings will be the worst, perhaps touching a Status Red on the west and north-west coast, but we won't be issuing those warnings until Wednesday morning."

Update: Met Éireann has said there is still some uncertainty over the future path of Hurricane Lorenzo, but it expects to have more precise details tomorrow.

The forecaster has been working with the US National Hurricane Center and others to try and predict the storm's route.

Met Éireann's Jean Byrne said: "The closer we get to the event, obviously, the better idea we should have. Luckily the models are coming in a little bit more into line, so I think we are fairly confident at this stage it will track close to Ireland, at least, if not over it.

"I suppose tomorrow they (the models) should align even further, we should know whether it will track slightly to the south-west or down across Connacht and across the country on Thursday night."

Earlier: Met Éireann: Lorenzo 'will no longer be a hurricane' when it comes towards Ireland

Emergency planners have been put on storm alert as Hurricane Lorenzo tracks towards Ireland.

Met Éireann’s Jean Byrne said there is still some uncertainty, but at the moment, it looks like the the storm will track close to Ireland.

Ms Byrne said: "At the moment it's heading towards the Azores and that looks fairly certain. It will continue on its north-eastward track, it till begin to weaken a good bit at that stage and by the time it reaches close to Ireland or over Ireland, it will certainly no longer be a hurricane, it will be an extra-Tropical structure.

"The exact track is still uncertain, but there is increasing confidence that it will track either close to Ireland past just to the north-west or even come down across parts of Connacht initially and come down across the country later Thursday."

No category five hurricane on record has ever made it so far north or east in the Atlantic.

Wind speed probabilities for Tropical Storm Lorenzo . Pic via National Hurricane Centre.
Wind speed probabilities for Tropical Storm Lorenzo . Pic via National Hurricane Centre.

Officials at the Department of Housing are closely watching the latest forecasts this morning for information on Hurricane Lorenzo

They have already written to the ESB, Gardaí, public transport operators and local authorities.

They have been ordered to monitor Met Éireann's updates over the coming days and be ready to activate their crisis management plans.

Staff from across the civil service are on standby this morning, ready to attend a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination group.

Hurricane Lorenzo is expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it approaches Ireland.

It is still not certain how close it will come, but it may bring with it high seas and storm surges.

Met Éireann says it expects to have more precise details about the route of Hurricane Lorenzo by tomorrow.

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