THE Coast Guard is urging people to stay away from all coastal areas and heights such as cliffs and piers today as potentially lethal winds of up to 140kmh are expected.
Met Eireann has issued a severe weather warning – especially for the north and northwest coastal counties of Mayo, Sligo and Donegal – as gusts exceeding the top speed limit on motorways are expected to peak this evening.
Strong south-to-southwest winds forecast for Connacht today will reach average speeds of between 70 to 90kmh, with gusts of up 140kmh expected.
The rest of the country is also expected to be lashed with strong south-to-southwest winds reaching average speeds of between 50 to 70kmh. Some gusts up to 110 and 120kmh are expected.
The Coast Guard is advising the public to avoid exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, beaches, promenades or coastal areas.
"Huge waves can be whipped up by high seas, which can pose hazards to anyone close to the shoreline. Severe weather such as this brings not only high winds, but the risk of heavy downpours and the potential for spot flooding," Irish Coast Guard manager Declan Geoghegan said.
"Do not attempt to cross fast-running rivers or floods as they may be stronger and deeper than you think. Flooded urban areas can contain hazards such as submerged manholes and downed power lines," he added.
The Coast Guard is also advising the public not to attempt to rescue people in difficulty in the sea or on cliffs or shorelines but to ring emergency services on 999 or 112 for the Coast Guard.
The Department of Transport is also advising anyone travelling to update themselves on the latest weather conditions before driving and to heed the advice of the Road Safety Authority on driving in severe weather conditions, including leaving lots of space between vehicles.