Country braced for more storms as Met Eireann issues new alert
* Heavy rain and winds of up to 120kmh expected to batter country today
* Insurers facing bill of €20m following Wednesday's storm
* Stormy conditions will remain until Christmas Eve
* Gardai are urging motorists to take extra care over the holidays
Motorists have been warned strong cross winds and heavy rain sweeping through the country making for appalling driving conditions.
Today, the forecaster has issued an orange weather alert for the entire country with gusts of up to 120km/h expected in places. Some flooding is likely especially in coastal areas due to heavy rain and high seas.
Traffic is choked in Dublin and Cork according to AA Roadwatch and this is expected to continue over the weekend, as the Christmas rush intensifies.
A spokesperson for AA Roadwatch told independent.ie: “Traffic is slow all over the country, particularly in the cities with shoppers. And some people are finishing work today so we’re expecting very busy traffic at the weekend around the cities.”
“Traffic is worst around Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, going into or out of it, and on the Navan Road from Cabra until Blanchardstown shopping centre.”
“We’re very concerned about the deteriorating weather conditions. There are a lot of crosswinds and a lot of heavy rain.”
“We’re particularly appealing to motorists to slow down.”
This evening there have been long delays around Liffey Valley shopping centre and outbound on the N3/Navan road.
In Dublin city centre, traffic is slow from Exchequer St onto South William Street and delays are also on Drury Street due to Christmas shoppers.
Delays also on the north quays up to Bachelors Walk
Traffic on the N7/Naas Road is very busy inbound , and traffic is very heavy on the N11/Stillorgan road and the Rock Road travelling both ways.
Council crews were gritting roads last night in some areas, ahead of an anticipated freeze.
The RSA appealed to all motorists to drive with extreme caution over the Christmas period. "The outlook remains changeable over the next several days with further showery and blustery weather forecast.
"The RSA is appealing to road users to take extra care in these strong winds."
Today will become stormy again as another spell of wet and windy weather spreads northwards, according to Met Eireann. Highest temperatures will be 10C to 12C, with very strong southerly winds.
One family was last night desperately seeking to rent a house over Christmas after their home was destroyed during the storm.
Husband and wife John and Josephine Griffin were forced to flee their home at Cloghans Hill in Tuam, Co Galway, when the roof was engulfed in flames.
"We left with just the clothes on our back," said Mr Griffin.
Meanwhile, in Cork, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal, householders and traders counted the cost of high winds, torrential rain and a violent sea surge.
Insurance industry officials estimated that more than 500 homes, cars and businesses have suffered storm damage over the past week.
Kent station in Cork city opened again after a freak squall tore down a 300-metre stretch of Victorian roof canopy.
An investigation is now under way into the cause of the collapse, which miraculously resulted in no serious injuries as it struck platforms one and two when they were virtually empty.
The Cobh train, with 40 people on board, had left the platform just 35 seconds before the roof collapsed.
In Galway, more than 30 cars were badly damaged by a sea surge at Salthill. The city council issued another flood warning for the area last night as more rain is expected to sweep in from the west today.
In Donegal, ESB crews worked round the clock to restore power to areas where electricity lines were torn down by the storm with Killybegs worst impacted.