Wednesday 16 January 2019

Met Éireann issues fresh warning as they expect gusts of up to 110km/hr and 'intense rain' as ex-tropical Storm Helene passes over Ireland

  • Met Éireann predict heavy rain this afternoon and tonight
  • Forecasters extend Status Yellow warning to five counties
  • Rainfall warning now in place for counties Donegal, West Galway, North Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo
  • Warning comes into effect at 1pm on Monday and will end at 5am Tuesday morning
  • AA Roadwatch warns motorists to 'extend additional caution in the coming days'
Rough seas yesterday at Runagh, Co Mayo.
Rough seas yesterday at Runagh, Co Mayo.

Denise Calnan and Rachel Farrell

Forecasters have warned that Storm Helene passing over Ireland "heralds the beginning of a very active period of weather this week", as they expect gusts of up to 110km/hr and "intense rain."

Met Eireann has issued a rainfall warning ahead of Storm Helene's passing over Ireland, as they predict heavy rain tonight in counties Donegal, West Galway, North Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo.

The status yellow warning was initially just posted for counties Galway and Mayo, but forecasters later included the three other counties.

They have also issued a Status Yellow wind warning tonight, which will be valid from 5am until 5pm on Wednesday.

They explained: "Very windy across Ireland from early on Wednesday morning until evening.

"South to southwest winds will reach mean speeds of 50 to 65 km/hr with guests of 90 to 110 km/hr, strongest in southern, western and northern coastal areas."

In an earlier briefing issued by Met Eireann, they warned the public about that "the arrival of Helene heralds the beginning of a very active period of weather this week."

The national forecaster said: "The rest of today will be windy, but winds will moderate away from the south and east coast tonight. The rain today will be heaviest in western and northwestern areas, where warnings are in places.

"Elsewhere tonight, intense bursts of rain may bring some spot flooding tonight. But most will clear by early Tuesday morning.

"A very active period of weather is now expected to follow over the coming days with an assembly line of low pressure systems swinging close to our shores, bringing strong winds and heavy rain at times.

"There is potential that wind or rainfall warnings will be required in at least some parts of the country over the next few days associated with these Atlantic low pressure systems."

Up to 40mm of rain can be expected in some areas, with a risk of local flooding.

The weather warning came into effect at 1pm on Monday and will end at 5am Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, motorists are being warned to "exercise additional caution" in the coming days as the large amounts of rainfall are expected.

The warning to motorists came after forecasters extended the rainfall warning to five counties.

In a statement issued this afternoon, AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan; "AA Ireland is calling on drivers in the affected counties to adapt their driving to suit the weather conditions and to be on the lookout for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians as visibility could be reduced during heavy rain.

"The expectation with this storm, according to Met Eireann, is that we will have a large volume of rainfall in quite a short space of time meaning that the risk of flooding in the affected areas is quite high stated.

"When you combine this with the lengthy, mostly dry spell of weather we’ve had recently motorists can expect roads in the affected areas to be significantly more slippery meaning that slowing down and slowing extra distance between yourself and other road users, especially vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, will be vital."

Met Éireann said yellow warnings may still be extended to counties Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin, Meath and Louth.

"On Monday night the remnants of tropical Storm Helene will pass over the country. This is expected to bring high-intensity rainfall over a short timeframe," said a forecaster.

"Winds associated with the storm are currently expected to be strongest at sea and along the south and south-east coasts, with winds overland expected to be moderate to fresh, easterly in direction at first, then becoming cyclonic variable as the eye of the storm passes over."

It is likely that today will see the worst of the storm remnants, with rain expected to spread eastwards quickly across the country. It will be heavy in many areas with a risk of spot flooding.

Tomorrow will start off windy, with temperatures of between 16C and 20C. It will be mostly dry throughout the day, but the rain is set to return tomorrow night.

"Tuesday night will be wet again with another spell of rain approaching, with lowest temperatures of 9C or 10C," the forecaster said.

Heavy rain is expected again on Wednesday, but conditions are set to pick up by Thursday as the last of the storm passes.

"Wednesday currently looks like being a wet day with heavy rain and strong south-west winds. The winds will back southerly during the day."

Charity Inner City Helping Homeless, which helps up to 150 people per night, said it has serious concerns for people sleeping rough tonight and reiterated its call for extra emergency beds to be provided over the winter.

Spokesman Brian McLoughlin said: "We will continue to monitor the tracking of Storm Helene and will be putting a contingency plan in place throughout Monday to increase services if required for people sleeping in doorways, parks and other areas off the beaten track across Dublin."

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