Thousands of homes are without power this morning following stormy conditions overnight.
Outages have hit areas across the country, with the largest in Tullow in Carlow, where 1,332 customers are affected.
Around 900 homes in Mayo & Galway without power. Parts of Achill, Clifden & Gort worst affected.— Pat McGrath (@patmcgrath) January 15, 2015
The ESB has issued a warning to the public to stay away from power lines.
A reminder If you see any damaged Networks DO NOT TOUCH DO NOT GO NEAR RING 1850372999 IMMEDIATELY or 999 if you have no credit #staysafe— ESB Networks (@ESBNetworks) January 15, 2015
AA Roadwatch is reporting flooding on many roads in Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Clare so extra care is needed.
SLIGO: There is flooding between Monasteraden and Ballaghadereen (R293). http://t.co/hEUHP0tItq— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 15, 2015
There are also some trees down.
SLIGO: The Dromahair Rd just outside Sligo Town is closed due to a fallen tree. http://t.co/qvBPcgPvrc— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 15, 2015
LIMERICK: There is a tree down on the Rathkeale/ Ballingarry Rd (R518) It's partially blocking the road. http://t.co/QN1MJZse0O— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 15, 2015
Inspector John Ferris from the Garda Press Office warned road users to be vigilant.
"We would urge people to recognise the particular conditions in their county, and if, at all possible, to avoid the journey," he said.
"We'd also appeal to those who are using bikes or motorbikes during this storm to recognise the danger and the challenge that they'll face and to rethink it.
"I know you might use your bike or your motorbike every day, but this is particularly stormy weather so we'd ask them to maybe not use their bike or motorbike."
All services operating at present Expect delays of approx 30mins to intercity services & 15mins to DART & commuter due to speed restriction— Iarnród Éireann #StaySafe (@IrishRail) January 15, 2015
Irish Ferries have cancelled all their sailings this morning due to the adverse weather conditions.
Passengers are advised to contact Irish Ferries for alternative sailing arrangements.
The wind map just now, the red zones indicating the worst winds pic.twitter.com/WooX8CIjik— Cork Harbour Weather (@CorkHarbourWX) January 15, 2015
Last night's Status Red wind warning remains in place for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick this morning as Storm Rachel sweeps across the country.
The worst of the weather is expected on western coastal areas.
Stormy in N & W in am.Severe gusts 130-150 km/hr possible.Heavy shrws hail/tunder.Sleet/snow on high ground may cause spot flooding.Max 4-7C— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 15, 2015
An Orange warning is still in place for the rest of the country, with gusts of up to 150 km/h possible in some parts.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said yesterday: “The advice to schools is that they should consider not opening where a status red weather warning related to wind is forecast to coincide with the periods during which students and staff would be expected to be travelling to and from school.”
Met Éireann meteorologist Eoin Sherlock said that while heavy rain will be widespread, the strong winds pose the greatest threat.
"Most of the rain will clear," he said.
"There will be scattered showers, they will be heavy enough at times, but there will still be a good deal of dry weather around.
"Those scattered showers, by their nature, could affect any part of the country.
"Some of them will be heavy enough, but we do expect a lot more drier weather - it's just the winds that will be the main threat."
Storm update: approx 2000 faults were cleared nationwide yesterday, and our crews are working hard to get all impacted customers back online— eir News (@eirNews) January 15, 2015
A spokeswoman for Donegal County Council last night urged people to exercise caution.
“Members of the public should not place themselves at risk on the road or on exposed areas like coasts or hills and should ask themselves if they really need to travel. It is likely that there will be some traffic disruption from fallen trees and localised flooding in areas,” she said.
Clare County Council, which suffered millions of euro worth of damage during repeated Atlantic storms last winter, opened an emergency call centre for people reporting fallen trees, blocked roads and flooding – 1890 252 943.
“While the entire county will be affected, the most extreme impacts are likely to be along the coastline. The advice is not to venture out or to drive on exposed roads while these conditions prevail,” a council spokesman said.
Winds will gradually ease during the afternoon and evening, Met Éireann said yesterday.
Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, urged farmers and people working at sea to take all safety measures in the storm.
“2014 proved to be the worst year for farm accidents since 1992 with 30 deaths reported, while tragic incidents in our fishing industry in recent years resulted in the sad loss of many lives,” he said.
“It is important that these appalling figures focus our minds in respect of farm and fishery safety this year and particularly during adverse weather”.