Monday 10 December 2018

Dublin Port reopens after being forced to close as gales slam Ireland ahead of Storm Diana

  • Ireland hit with widespread rain and gales
  • Two weather warnings remain in place until this afternoon
  • Rainfall warning in place until 2pm, wind warning in place until 3pm
  • Dublin Port was forced to close to shipping as a result of strong easterly winds
  • Traffic is improving after a morning of delays due to the restrictions
  • Tail-end of Storm Diana in UK not anticipated to affect Ireland until closer to the weekend
Dublin Port forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds (Photo: Donal Corkery)
Dublin Port forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds (Photo: Donal Corkery)
Dublin Port forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds (Photo: Donal Corkery)
Dublin Port forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds (Photo: Donal Corkery)

Rachel Farrell and Kevin Doyle

Dublin Port has reopened after being forced to close to shipping this morning as a result of widespread rain and gales hitting Ireland.

There are currently two weather warnings in place nationwide. A status yellow rainfall warning is in place for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan until 2pm today, with up to 30mm of rain expected to fall in some areas.

There is also a nationwide yellow wind warning in place until 3pm today with strong gusts along the coast.

Meanwhile, Dublin Port has reopened after being forced to close to shipping this morning as a result of widespread rain and gales hitting Ireland.

A spokesperson for Dublin Port confirmed to Independent.ie that the port had reopened shortly before midday, after being previously closed to shipping from 8.30am onwards.

Gardaí reported that the closure of the port had a "knock-on effect" on traffic in the area and as a result traffic was restricted entering the South Bore of Dublin Port Tunnel.

"Traffic is heavy entering and exiting the tunnel. It's busiest along the Grand Canal eastbound from Harold's Cross to Ranelagh Road. If possible traffic should use alternate routes," they said in a statement earlier this morning.

Delays of up to 40 minutes were reported on the M1 towards the Port Tunnel, with severe delays on the M1 as a result and a tailback back as far as Balbriggan.

Dublin Port Communications Manager Charlie Murphy said there was a large number of trucks waiting to get into the port as they were forced to stop operations.

He said the easterly winds were "blowing straight into the port".

"Our operators had to shut down operations... it's the operations of loading and discharging that is the problem.

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Dublin Port forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds (Photo: Donal Corkery)

"Ships are not at risk and ships in the bay will continue to come in.

"It's just the loading and unloading operations. We're told by midday the winds will change and ease and they'll come from the south."

According to Met Éireann, Ireland will see "reoccurring spells" of rain and wind this week, but the tail-end of neighbouring Storm Diana in the UK not anticipated to affect Ireland until closer to the weekend.

"The parent Storm Diana will move up across the north Atlantic and won’t track over Ireland at all this week, that will be at the weekend," Met Éireann forecaster Vincent O’Shea told Independent.ie.

"We are however seeing that rain is widespread across the country this morning alongside the strong gales associated with it.

"It’s affecting virtually all of the country but there will be a slight improvement to some brighter weather later today."

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Traffic tailbacks from after the Ballbriggan exit to the Dublin Port Tunnel after it was forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds Photo: Mark Condren

The national forecaster said that southeast gales will ease later in the afternoon, but the wet and windy weather is expected to return tonight and continue into tomorrow.

"It will have been the strongest and wettest this morning but there will be more rain and strong winds later tonight, and we’ll see this in reoccurring spells right up until the weekend," Mr O’Shea said.

Rain is expected to be heavy tomorrow, particularly in the north and west of the country, but it will be mild with highest temperatures reaching between 13 and 15 degrees.

Thursday will be cool and blustery with a mix of bright spells and some showers, but there will be a chance of hail in some counties.

Friday will be a brighter day with some chance of showers still, with the weekend weather looking to be “changeable” and more strong rain and wind leading into Saturday and Sunday.

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Dublin Port forced to close to shipping as a result of strong winds (Photo: Donal Corkery)

In the UK, Storm Diana is expected to bring some travel disruption on road, rail, ferry and air transport from noon on Wednesday, according to the Met Office.

Meanwhile, a permanent scheme to help compensate businesses hit by flooding with up to €20,000 is to be approved by Cabinet today.

Up to now the Government has established ad-hoc schemes during storm periods – but  a flood relief scheme being placed on a standard footing.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe and Business Minister Heather Humphreys will bring forward proposals today.

The scheme will be demand-led and aimed at business and organisations who experience flood damage as a consequence of a severe weather event to their premises and who have been refused flood insurance.

Successful applicants will be in line for a ‘quick’ payment up to €5,000. They can then seek a further payment of up to €15,000 after a more detailed assessment of the loss incurred.

In the past, the Department of Defence operated ad hoc humanitarian support schemes in conjunction with the Irish Red Cross following incidents of flooding.

More than €4m was been paid out as part of schemes have set up during Storm Desmond, Storm Eleanor and after flooding incidents in Donegal and Laois.

The ministers believe the new system will give clarity to businesses who cannot obtain insurance for the damage caused by flooding.

The Irish Red Cross will continue to administer applications for assistance.

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