THE red alert that was issued by Met Eireann is their most severe weather warning, and is rarely put in place.
The forecasters issued the severe warning yesterday afternoon, as they forecast high-speed winds and heavy rain to sweep across the west and south of the country overnight.
The red warning, which was issued for the second time in the last 10 days, is described as a "rare event" by the meteorological service, and will only be put in place if wind speeds reach more than 80kph.
The orange warning, the second most serious alert, is put in action if winds are between 65 and 80kph -- almost half the speed that some parts of the country will have experienced last night.
Met Eireann said that the red alert, which is due to stay in place until 3pm this afternoon, implies that "recipients take action to protect themselves", and this could include leaving their home and moving away from the storm.
Alan O'Reilly, an amateur weatherman from Carlow, said that the winds that will batter the country this morning are set to be the strongest in almost 16 years.
"These winds would be quite unusual. It's probably 1997 since the last time that we saw something like this.
"If anyone is thinking of travelling early this morning, they should probably be advised to wait a few hours."