The extreme weather came as a shock to many but a spokesperson for Met Eireann defended its position, insisting some warnings had been issued last night.
“There were red warnings issued last night between 8 and 10pm for the south and south west
“There were red warnings for the south west of the country which of course was the place which got the worst of it.
“There were lower grade warnings for the rest of the country which were updated throughout the morning. Initially Munster and Wexford became red then over the last few hours,” she told the Irish Independent this evening.
She said the warnings had been called for in the south, where winds had exceeded the 130km/h red warning level, but the move to call a red warning in Dublin, and across Leinster and into Connaught was more precautionary as the gales struck during rush-hour in the capital and elsewhere.
“The really strong winds have only hit over the last few hours. The strongest winds were recorded at Shannon Airport at 86 knots which 160km per hour.
“It was always regarded with concern. You’d expect in a storm situation that warnings would initially be at a lower level and then would be raised. This would be the sequence of events that would occur in a situation like this.”
“In Leinster we’re getting around 120km/h which actually only translates to an orange warning. That only reaches the orange level.”
“But that is unusual for an inland county. The red warning is for 130km/h and above.”
“We haven’t gone anywhere above 130km/h outside of Munster but what I don’t like is the time it’s hit. It’s rush-hour. People are commuting. That’s why we issued the red warning for all of Leinster and Connaught.”
She said the winds were expected to lessen in the next few hours and the red warning may be reduced to orange or even yellow by 7pm.
“The winds have abated now. They’ll go again in the next few hours. I’m not saying it won’t be windy into the night, it will. But the severe winds will go. They have gone down in the south west but they are still squally.
“The red warning is in place up until 7pm. We deliberately picked that time for review. I think it will probably be gone at that stage. We may be able to make everywhere yellow, or we may have to make some areas orange and then yellow.