Country braced for severe weather
Householders were bracing themselves today as gale force winds were expected to batter the country.
Forecasters have issued a severe weather warning over a storm coming in off the Atlantic, with gusts of up to 140kph due in the north and west.
Road safety campaigners have cautioned motorists about the conditions.
Met Eireann's John Eagleton said electricity poles and trees could come down in some areas while some structural damage could be expected to homes and other buildings.
"Basically the west and the north will be worst affected," he said. "Donegal is really going to bear the worst of it. It will be windy everywhere but particularly so up there."
Mr Eagleton said parts of Derry, Leitrim and Sligo will also be hit as the centre of the storm passes over the north coast towards Scotland.
The conditions are expected to last most of the afternoon, evening and into the night with westerly gale force winds of up to 120kph and gusts of up to 140kph.
High seas along the Atlantic coast are also threatening floods in low lying areas.
Winds are expected to ease overnight and into tomorrow morning.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) called on all road users to take extra care during the stormy conditions and watch out for falling and fallen debris and objects being blown about.
Motorists may also be endangered by strong cross winds, with high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists particularly vulnerable, it said.
The RSA also urged walkers and cyclists to be extra cautious and make sure they are seen.
Clare County Council called on home and business owners to take precautionary steps.
It is putting in place contingency plans to increase water pumping capacity and other flood alleviation measures.
Ger Dollard, Ennis town manager, said river levels in Clare have increased significantly over the past two weeks.
"The council has been involved since late last week in putting in place a lot of preparatory and contingency measures on a precautionary basis due to present weather patterns," he said.
"This has involved staff being specifically assigned to these measures.
"We continue to maintain a high level of vigilance in relation to a potential flooding situation and are assessing the most up-to-date data on a daily basis to best inform our response."