Hurricane Ophelia is to hit Ireland on Monday and is predicted to be one of the worst storms we have seen in more than 50 years.
The forecast is for the storm to cross directly over the country during day time on Monday bringing gusts of up to 130km/h. Met Éireann said “violent and destructive gusts are forecast with all areas at risk and in particular the southwest and south in the morning, and eastern counties in the afternoon.” Heavy rain and storm surges are also forecast, which may lead to flooding. Met Éireann released the approximate time when the storm will be at its height in various parts of the country. The forecaster said the public should remain indoors from these times.
Munster - from 7am: Counties Cork and Kerry are feeling the storm from 7am while the rest of Munster from 9am. Southern and southwestern counties have been subject to a status red warning since Saturday, which has allowed extra time to prepare. Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said: “Engineering staff and outdoor response crews have been put on notice and are on standby, while the Council’s emergency services are also ready and available to respond.” He said the worst of the weather was expected during Monday afternoon. Cork City Council advised residents and businesses in areas subject to tidal flooding to take measures to protect their property in advance of high tide which is due in the city at 4pm. According to the gardaí, fallen trees are blocking roads in Bandon, Blarney, Inniscarra, Waterfall, Bishopstown, Donnybrook, Glanmire, Newtownshandrum and Ballyhea, while a fallen telegraph pole is blocking a road in Kinsale and fallen signage led to the closure of Blarney Street in the city. A tree has fallen on a passing car on the Blarney to Tower Road in Co Cork but no details are available yet on whether anyone has been injured. Meanwhile a crane has blown down on the slip road off the N25 leading to Little Island and one lane is closed to traffic. ESB Networks are continuing to respond to new power outages with repair crews now attending to outages in Bishopstown in Cork city where hundreds of customers are without power. Most public services have been shut down in Co Kerry and shops have announced Monday closures. Power outages in Glengarriff, Milltown and Killarney town, but the fault at Woodford in Killarney is already under repair and 700 homes have been restored. There are no more sandbags available, Kerry council’s director of services Charlie O’Sullivan says. In any case, Mr O’Sullivan said he did not want people going out now for them. The council’s emergency number is (066) 7183588 to report road closures.
South Leinster and Galway - from Midday : The heaviest rainfall accumulations tomorrow will be in Connacht and parts of west Ulster and west Munster. The western coastal counties of Galway, Mayo and Silgo are among those facing some of the some of the highest rainfall while the most powerful winds are forecast to hit the west during Monday afternoon. The storm is expected to bring gusts of between 110km/h and 130km/h. Structural damage and flooding are possible while people are advised to “take action to protect themselves and/or their property”. Galway City Council said there was a “low risk” of tidal flooding in the Galway Bay area, but has warned of a high risk of flying debris with gusts over 130 km per hour expected throughout Monday. The council said the overall tidal level was predicted to be below the “critical level for flooding”.
Dublin and the rest of Leinster - from 1pm: The most severe winds along the east coast in counties Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Westmeath, Meath and Louth are forecast for the afternoon and early evening. Morning traffic volumes in the 6am to 8am rush hour on M50 are well down from normal and traffic on the main inter-urban motorways has fallen even more sharply, according to initial data. The average flow of traffic today between junctions 7 and 9 on the M50 - the country’s busiest road - was 20,993, a third lower than the 31,348 recorded in the same period one week earlier, according to figures on the Transport Infrastructure Ireland website. The peak traffic time after 7am showed a total of 8,385, compared to 11,956 last Monday.
North Connacht and Ulster - from 3pm: The storm will continue its journey north in the aftenoon hitting the rest of Connacht, the North West and Northern Ireland. All schools in the North are also closed
The UK Met Office warned: “Flying debris is likely, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties. “This leads to the potential for injuries and danger to life,” a statement on the Met Office website says.