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Climatologist calls Storm Rachel 'a standard winter gale'

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Initial estimates indicate the Government could be left with a bill exceeding €100m. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

Initial estimates indicate the Government could be left with a bill exceeding €100m. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

Initial estimates indicate the Government could be left with a bill exceeding €100m. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

It has been dubbed 'Storm Rachel' and has its own hashtag on twitter but the storm that's going to hit the country today will be nothing like what last winter had to throw at us.

Still most of the country will feel the brunt of the storm with extremely windy conditions and gusts that will reach storm force of between 90 and 120km/hour on exposed Atlantic coasts later today.

Climatologist and senior lecturer with the Department of Geography at University College Cork, Dr Kieran Hickey, says Storm Rachel will probably amount to nothing more than a standard winter gale that won't even come close to causing the same amount of damage as the storms that devastated the country last January and February.

"At the moment, from what I can see, it's nothing more than a standard winter gale not nearly on the scale of the really bad ones we had last winter," Dr Hickey said.

"There's still going to be a bad winter gale, which we get two or three times a year most winters and one of those will cause a few power outages, but at the moment it doesn't look like anything on a par to the worst five storms of last winter by any means."

The storm is being caused by a rapidly deepening low pressure system that's moving across the Atlantic, interacting with jet streams which cause it to deepen as it approaches our shores.

The areas that will feel its brunt the hardest are exposed areas on the western seaboard and parts of Ulster, but all areas will feel its force before the southerly winds begin to ease again on Thursday.

Storm Rachel will also hit the UK with the Met office there warning of more snow, ice, rain and possible flooding.

And despite claims by independent forecaster metcheck.com that the storm will be the most potent to hit the UK in over 15 years, Dr Hickey says that while it's a "decent enough size storm" it should pass over without major damage.

"It's a standard winter gale that we get without fail each winter but it's still going to be a bad winter gale and Ireland is a relatively small island so a big storm will give the whole country a bit of impact; everywhere will feel it but it will be more severe obviously on the west and north coasts," he said.

Irish Independent