Thursday 13 December 2018

Local authorities told to activate 'severe weather teams' as country braces itself for Storm Diana

  • Three new weather warnings issued for Wednesday morning
  • Ireland hit with widespread rain and gales as tail-end of Storm Diana is due
  • Motorists urged to take extra care on Irish roads tomorrow
  • Safety experts asking homeowners to ensure garden items are locked up
The Coast Guard come to the assistance of a walker during high winds and swells on Dublin's great south wall as the tail end of Storm Diana crosses the East Coast of Ireland Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Coast Guard come to the assistance of a walker during high winds and swells on Dublin's great south wall as the tail end of Storm Diana crosses the East Coast of Ireland Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Coast Guard come to the assistance of a walker during high winds and swells on Dublin's great south wall as the tail end of Storm Diana crosses the East Coast of Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Heavy traffic on Parkgate Street on a wet morning in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
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)

Kevin Doyle, Rachel Farrell and Ian Begley

Local authorities across the country have tonight been told to activate their “severe weather teams” as Storm Diana moves in.

A period of disturbed weather is now predicted to continue for five days

Officials say Storm Diana’s impact will be felt over the next 48 hours as it track upwards from the Azores.

The National Directorate for Fire & Emergency Management have contacted all local authorities, requesting that they activate their crisis management arrangements where necessary.

A spokesperson for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said his department has contacted transport officials requesting that they inform the transport sector and Coast Guard of the developing situation.

Rainfall levels will be above normal and stormy conditions are forecast.

The Coast Guard come to the assistance of a walker during high winds and swells on Dublin's great south wall as the tail end of Storm Diana crosses the East Coast of Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Coast Guard come to the assistance of a walker during high winds and swells on Dublin's great south wall as the tail end of Storm Diana crosses the East Coast of Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

An Orange weather warning will be in place for Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Wexford Clare and Galway from 6am. Severe south to southwest winds will reach 65 to 80 km/h with gust of 110 to 130 km/h. High seas are expected also, with a risk of coastal flooding

A Yellow wind warning is in place for all counties tomorrow from 5am tomorrow.

Conditions will vary across the country and people should be aware of conditions in their local area and exercise caution, especially if outdoors or in exposed areas.

Earlier today emergency services came to the assistance of a walker during high winds and swells on Dublin’s Great South Wall.

The alarm was raised this afternoon after a young woman appeared to be in danger as rising water had begun to break the wall of the iconic port. 

It is understood the woman came out to watch swimmers at Half-Moon Swimming Club earlier in the day.

“One person had seen her out on the rocks and became increasingly concerned for her safety so they decided to call us,” a member of Dublin Coast Guard told Independent.ie

“The tide was coming in and the water was starting to break the wall, which could have left her stranded. We sent out a jeep to the scene just to make sure she was ok. 

“But because of the unfavorable conditions it took longer than normal. Thankfully, she was fine and got back without incident.”

Earlier today, Met Éireann issued three new weather warnings.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for counties Cork, Kerry and Waterford from 6am until midday tomorrow, with winds of 65 to 80 km/h and gusts of 110 to 130km/h to be expected.

There is a Status Orange wind warning for Wexford, Galway and Clare tomorrow from 9am until 2pm.

There is also a Status Yellow warning in place for the rest of the country from 5am until 4pm.

A Met Éireann forecaster told RTE Radio One this lunchtime that the weather is currently in a "disturbed phase".

"We just had some very wet and windy weather which is gradually clearing off," he said.

"Storm Diana is currently 1,900km off the south-west of Ireland and is due to bring more severe weather to the country tomorrow.

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A pedestrian struggles with an umbrella on a stormy wet morning in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

"This particular period of poor weather is moving northwards all the time, and top afternoon temperatures will be 8-11 degrees.

"There will be more wet and windy weather this evening, but it will be mostly dry tonight."

He continued; "However, tomorrow will be a very windy and blustery day with strong to gale force winds.

"There will also be some severe gusts in place. We have weather warnings out for this."

Cork County Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team met earlier today to make preparations for possible coastal flooding as a result of the recent heavy rainfall, tidal surge and expected high winds.

Tidal surges of 0.6m -0.75m are expected tomorrow which could give rise to coastal flooding in some locations, depending on the wind direction and the exact timing of peak wind conditions, the council said.

Road users are asked to exercise extreme caution, particularly tomorrow morning, due to surface water on roads and debris due to forecasted adverse weather conditions. Cork County Council say they will continue to monitor the situation.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Co in Dublin will close all parks in the district tomorrow because of high winds forecast.

A spokesperson said the parks will be closed until further notice. Meanwhile Ballyogan recycling centre will also be closed to public until further notice.

Elsewhere, Clare County Council has indicated that any coastal areas which have previously flooded are at risk and people in such situations are advised to take appropriate precautions.

Meanwhile, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience will be closed to visitors tomorrow from 9am to 2pm due to the weather warning.

AA Roadwatch and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are urging motorists to take extra precautions when driving in the days ahead, as severe winds are expected as Storm Diana passes over Ireland.

They are calling on motorists to reduce their speed accordingly and to allow extra stopping distance between themselves and other road users.

"Tuesday brought its fair share of miserable weather conditions early in the day, but it’s important that we all understand Storm Diana is still ahead of us and, in line with the warnings from Met Eireann, there is the potential that driving conditions could greatly deteriorate,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs said.

"With the potential for strong winds and rain, motorists need to drive responsibly, allow extra stopping distance and to be on the lookout for vulnerable road users.”

Mr Faughnan added that commuters should expect delays tomorrow as a result of the weather conditions, and that cyclists and pedestrians should also take care on the roads.

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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

"When we get conditions like what Met Eireann are expecting, we see many people who would normally commute by public transport or alternative methods make use of a car if they have access to one, meaning your work commute could take longer," he said.

"However, there will still be cyclists and pedestrians out and about so it’s important that you allow these road users extra space as a sudden gust could easily force them to veer off-course."

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A tree and power line fell on a vehicle in Marlboro Road in Glenageary this morning Photo: Justin Farrelly

Homeowners are also being advised to check their roof for loose tiles and ensure any items in their garden which could be blown around by the gusts are securely tied down or tidied away.

"While we have had a few storms in the past few months, it does appear that Diana will bring with it some stronger gusts than what we have recently experienced," Mr Faughnan said.

"If you are living in a county covered by the orange warning, it’s important to understand that any loose items in your garden or loose roof slates could be turned into dangerous projectiles by the wind and to ensure they are securely fixed in place.

"For example, if you’re someone who has the external Christmas decorations already, it’s important that you have them tied or weighed down or your light-up snowman could come crashing through your window.”

The RSA is asking road users to check local weather and traffic conditions and be aware of the conditions before setting out on a trip.

They have advised motorists:

  • Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road
  • Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds
  • Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists
  • Drive with dipped headlights at all times

They have also issued advice to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists;

  • Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
  • Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle

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.

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.

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

Today, there were two weather warnings in place nationwide. A status yellow rainfall warning for a number of counties and a nationwide yellow wind warning were due to finish this afternoon.

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.

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

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