Storm Rachel washes away the snow — for now

Andrew Moffettin Lough Key Forest Park, Co Roscommon with his children Janie, 3, Chloe, 5, and their dog, Bailey.

In typical January fashion, the rain has arrived to wash away the snow, the snowmen, and the winter wonderland hopes of many schoolchildren — for now.

According to Met Éireann, the cold snap is to continue well into next week, with the prospect of more snow on Monday and Tuesday.

But for now, counties across Ireland are busy contending with Rachel — the storm is set to ravage the country until later today.

As such, three severe weather alerts are in place, including a rarely-seen Status Red Wind Warning — the highest level.

The alert was issued for the exposed coastal and mountain areas of Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, and Donegal, and remains in place until midday today.

Storm Rachel washes away the snow — for now

Braving the elements on a wet and windy afternoon in Cork city yesterday.

An Emergency Call Centre (1890 252 943) has been established in Clare for people to report fallen trees, blocked roads and flooding.

Winds of up to 90 km/hr with gusts of up to 150 km/hr are expected, though these are set to die down later this evening.

There is a Status Orange Wind Warning for the rest of the country, in place until at least 3pm.

A Status Yellow Rainfall Warning has also been issued for Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Donegal.

The alert is valid until 6pm today and rainfall totals of up to 35mm are expected.

Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority has urged drivers to take extreme care and to check weather forecasts before travelling.

They are also asking pedestrians to be careful on exposed footpaths, and to watch for slippery patches.

The Age Action charity encouraged people to check in on elderly or vulnerable neighbours, saying the combination of adverse weather events means older people may need assistance getting food, medicine and other essential supplies.

Storm Rachel washes away the snow — for now

One vehicle left the road in the dangerous snow and ice outside Kilmichael, Co Cork.

So far, the week’s weather chaos has caused many school closures, traffic problems, ESB outages and disruption to rail services.

Several school buses were cancelled or ran late in the Killarney, Listowel and Causeway areas.

The ESB reported lightning across the country was responsible for power shortages, with outages reported in most regions.

Yesterday, all Inter-City services out of Dublin’s Heuston Station experienced delays of up to 60 minutes.

Services between Ennis and Athenry were also suspended for a short time due to snow and ice, with further delays on services between Cork and Heuston, Limerick and Galway and the Athlone, Galway and Westport lines.

In addition, the Coast Guard’s Sligo 118 helicopter was forced to take emergency supplies to Tory Island, 12km off the Donegal coast.

The ferry which normally runs between the island and the mainland has been unable to operate due to high seas.

Storm Rachel washes away the snow — for now

A snowman near Coachford, Co Cork, as the weather changed with rain starting to fall.

Along with supplies, the helicopter transported three residents, including King of Tory Island Patsy Dan Rogers, who had been stuck on the mainland for the past week.

On its return journey, the helicopter took ten other islanders back to the mainland — some to attend college and others who had hospital appointments.

Meanwhile, tomorrow and Saturday will be cold, wet and breezy, with most of the rain in western and northern counties. Sharp frosts will occur each night.


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