Storm Barbara set to disrupt Christmas travel plans

Be prepared, is the warning for all coastal counties as a status-orange weather alert today could bring winds of up to 75km per hour and gusts up to 120k/h on high ground.

Storm Barbara looks set to disrupt travel plans with some ferries to and from Britain cancelled.

Irish Ferries has cancelled six scheduled sailings between Dublin and Holyhead due to expected adverse weather conditions.

However, it is confident affected passengers can be accommodated elsewhere.

Stena Line has also signalled that storm conditions may cause disruption this busy holiday weekend.

The worst of the storm is expected on the western seaboard, particularly in Donegal, Galway, and Mayo where people living on high ground have been advised to heed the orange-warning.

A status-yellow warning is in place for the rest of the country, with winds of up to 65km and gusts between 90 and 110km, strongest in exposed areas.

The weather warnings remain in place until 6pm and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is urging motorists to take extra care.

Motorists should expect the unexpected while driving today the RSA warned, adding that drivers should be cautious of objects being blown onto the road.

Drivers should leave extra space between their car and the vehicle in front as it takes longer to slow down in wet conditions, as well as also taking special care when driving behind trucks as the vehicles can generate a lot of spray, reducing visibility, according to the RSA.

Motorists should also drive with dipped headlights at all times and allow extra space between their vehicle and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists, experts added.

Motorists should not attempt to drive through flooded roads, as these can be deeper than they appear. And after going through any water, motorists should drive slowly with their foot on the brake pedal for a short distance as this helps to dry the brakes.

The RSA also warned cyclists to take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in windy conditions today as a sudden gust can blow a pedestrian or cyclist into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

With waves of 10ft to 20ft forecast off the coast of Clare today, Clare County Council warned all those who plan on swimming over Christmas to be extremely careful.

“Be aware that strong currents are caused by large waves which would make conditions very dangerous for swimmers,” said safety development officer Clare McGrath.

Storm Barbara looks set to clear tonight with Met Éireann predicting that Christmas Eve will be mild and breezy with scattered showers during the morning and heavier showers in the afternoon and evening. Widespread rain is forecast for Christmas Day, with highest temperatures of 12 to 13 degrees.

Separately, flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airport yesterday were delayed due to fog.

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