Storm Deirdre: Heavy winds and rain brings flooding and leaves homes without power
- Thousands of homes were left without power in Cork
- Spot flooding reported in a number of counties
- Irish Ferries sailing between Dublin to Holyhead cancelled
- Status Orange wind warning issued for counties Wexford, Donegal, Cork and Waterford
- Gusts of up to 120km/h set to batter parts of the country from late afternoon
- Status Yellow rain warning in place as 'severe and hazardous' conditions expected
- Retailers expect drop in trade as consumers shelter from weather
High winds have caused disruptions to electricity wires and motorists are advised to be aware of wind-blown debris and fallen trees as Storm Deirdre hits the country.
More than 4,000 homes and businesses were left without power earlier in the Glengariff area of Cork with ESB technicians currently working to repair the fault.
It is understood that power had been restored to 3,000 of these homes by midday but teams remain on standby for any weather-related outages.
AA Roadwatch has warned motorists of spot flooding on many Irish roads this evening.
In Wexford, the promenade in Enniscorthy is closed due to flooding, as is the Edermine Bridge outside Enniscorthy.
The Castlemartyr/Mogeely road in Cork is also closed due to flooding, while the Carrigrohane/Nad road (R579) is said to be "impassable" between Healy's Bridge and Cloghroe.
Met Éireann issued an updated orange wind warning for counties Wexford, Donegal, Cork and Waterford as parts of the country are set to be battered by gusts of up to 120km/h.
The nation woke up to widespread rain this morning, but it has become heavier, particularly in south and south west counties, with spot flooding already reported in the southern region.
Meanwhile, a number of Irish Ferries between Dublin and Holyhead have been cancelled on Saturday with Sunday sailings still scheduled to go ahead.
There have been no weather-related cancellations as yet at the country's main airports but passengers are advised to check the status of their flight before travelling.
There is the potential for "severe and hazardous" conditions with coastal counties set to feel the force of the wind from the late afternoon.
Stormy conditions with "disruptive and damaging" gusts will track north and eastwards during the evening and early night.
The Status Orange is in place from 3pm until 10pm in the counties affected.
A Status Yellow has been issued for the rest of the country and will be in place until midnight tonight.
Met Eireann warns: "A developing depression (Storm Deirdre) will track northeast over Ireland during Saturday afternoon and evening and will bring wet and windy weather to all areas.
"Southeast winds will veer west to northwest later this afternoon and evening, with mean speeds 55 to 65 km/hr and gusts to 110 km/h."
A Status Yellow rainfall warning is also in place as forecasters warn that heavy rain will see accumulations of up to 50mm in some places.
Mountainous areas could also see even more rainfall.
Motorists are being urged to take care on the roads and avoid driving during periods of heavy rain if possible.
"The rain will be in all areas, it's hard to specify at this point but it will be widespread heavy rain," meteorologist Harm Luijkx told Independent.ie.
"The wind will be strong mostly in the east at the beginning of the day but heavy winds will be widespread by the evening."
The Department of Culture and Heritage has requested that members of the public refrain from visiting Killlarney National Park today, due to a risk of "falling branches and wind-blown debris".
"While other National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) locations may remain open, the NPWS would urge members of the public to take all necessary precautions for the duration of the weather warning," a spokesperson said.
With severe weather forecast for this weekend, retailers are expecting a drop of up to 20pc in high street shopping on one of the biggest traditional consumer days of the year.
Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin Town, a retail group encouraging trade in the capital, said he expects a 20pc drop in footfall across the city due to the poor weather.
"It's not great timing to have a downpour of rain and strong wind on the second to last Saturday before Christmas," Mr Guiney said.
"This is one of the biggest shopping days of the year for Christmas. We will see footfall down by around 20pc due to the weather.
"Normally, we would see up to around 600,000 to 650,000 shoppers in the city on this day, so it's definitely a shame we expect the weather will impact this."
David Fitzsimons, group chief executive of Retail Excellence, said he expected high streets across the country to see a similar picture if the weather is bad on Saturday.
"But shopping centres which have indoor sections and shopping malls won't be impacted too much," Mr Fitzsimons said.
"I still think money will hit the tills later on, perhaps on Sunday and throughout the next two weeks."
The tens of thousands of Leinster rugby fans expected to attend the Champions Cup clash against Bath in the Aviva are being advised to check Met Éireann's website for weather updates.