Wednesday 7 December 2016

'He's big, he's called Barney, but he's not purple or cuddly' - Gardai warn motorists to drive with care

Published 17/11/2015 | 17:52

High winds in Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin this afternoon Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
High winds in Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin this afternoon Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Gardaí are advising motorists to drive with care during the stormy conditions as 'Barney' sweeps across the country.

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They have also asked for anyone spotting 'falling or fallen debris' to contact their local garda station.

The warning comes as AA Roadwatch report numerous trees to have fallen on roads nationwide as a result of high winds.

Gardai wrote on their official Twitter account: "He’s big & he’s called Barney but he’s not purple and cuddly. Dangerous wind and rain expected, avoid coast/waterways, light up and be seen.

"Orange weather warning in effect, widespread rain & gale force gusts, if on the road take extra care, light up, slow down, watch for debris," they added.

Speaking to Independent.ie, a Met Eireann spokesperson said the 'Orange Alert' will come into force in the late afternoon and evening for Dublin and Wicklow, and will remain in place for counties Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry for the foreseeable future.

“We are getting the front end of Storm Barney and its affecting mostly the southern half of the country.

“The winds will peak in early afternoon with the southern counties definitely feeling it.”A scattering of showers in the west is expected to extend to all parts of the country by midday, the Met said.

Elsewhere, Limerick City and County Council are warning residents to avoid travel where necessary this afternoon and evening.

A statement from Limerick Council reads: "It is important that members of the public pay attention to Met Éireann's advisory as this weather system has the potential to deliver Storm Force 10 winds to Limerick for a period during the afternoon to early evening.

"Members of the public are advised to remain indoors where possible during the storm and to stay away from rivers and other water bodies."

Paul Moroney, Senior Engineer for Clare County Council added: "County Clare is likely to be affected to a greater extent than most other areas with the impact extending for a considerable distance inland through the afternoon.

"Our advice is to defer any planned road journeys during this period and to take special care in coastal and exposed areas."

AA RoadWatch is also advising motorists to take precautions “normally appropriate during such weather conditions”, asking drivers to be mindful of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists this afternoon.

“Wind blown debris is likely to be a problem on secondary routes in particular.

“High sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable on open or exposed roads.”

Response

The fire service and council staff responded to multiple reports of trees that fell on roadways in various parts of the county.

In Ennis, a road-sign buckled under the force of the wind and crashed onto the footpath near the town’s rail and bus station. No one was injured in that incident.

Two motorists escaped serious injury when they lost control of their cars in separate incidents on the M18 motorway. The first happened at around 7.30am in the northbound lane between Barefield and Crusheen.

Shortly before 1.00pm, a car lost control and collided with a crash barrier in the central reservation of the M18 between Newmarket on Fergus and Dromoland.

Units of the fire brigade from Shannon along with Gardaí and an ambulance responded to the incident.

One fire service vehicle created a rolling roadblock and brought traffic to a safe stop before they reached the accident scene. One person has been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Traffic had been backed up for over a kilometre for about 40 minutes before one lane of the route was reopened. Once the crashed car was removed from the scene, the second land of the motorway was also opened.

As gale-force winds batter large parts of the country, Garda have shared footage of a patrol car's close call with a falling branch during high winds to warned motorists to stay safe this evening.

In a video posted its official Facebook page, a Garda spokesperson shared a near miss incident involving one of its Burglary Response units.

"Be careful out there! Severe weather warning in place!!

"Damage caused to Garda Burglary Response car in Blanchardstown on November 12th in high winds - expect the unexpected and drive safely if travelling in such conditions."

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