Wednesday 12 December 2018

Storm Callum weather warning extended, forecasters predict more rain for weekend

  • Met Éireann: Status Orange warning was deemed appropriate

  • More wet weather on the way for weekend

  • Number of flights cancelled at Dublin Airport

  • Number of road closures, commuter delays due to debris and fallen trees

  • Storm Callum hits hard with winds of up to 130kmh

Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes
Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes
Pat Duane, from Glasnevin, walks in driving rain past sandbags in Clontarf, Dublin, before the worst took hold. Storm Callum was expected to bring gales of up to 130kmh, with coastal areas bearing the brunt of the weather, which attracted a status yellow warning. Photo: Damien Eagers
Stormy: Locals struggle with brollies in Westport, Co Mayo, as the wet, windy weather moves in. Photo: Paul Mealey
Nancy Long stands at the door of her house in the Claddagh Quay in Galway with sandbags and a plastic flood gate for protection against possible flooding from Storm Callum. Photo: Andy Newman

Denise Calnan, Kathy Armstrong and Ian Begley

Weather forecasters have predicted more wet weather for the weekend ahead - and say Storm Callum's Status Orange warning was "deemed appropriate".

Over two dozen flights to and from Dublin Airport were cancelled as destructive winds of up to 130kmh swept across the country last night.

A number of roads were closed this morning due to debris, fallen trees and a minor mudslide in Cork.

The Department of Education advised all education centres to remain vigilant and to "err on the side of caution" - and up to 30,000 homes and businesses were left without power this morning.

Speaking as the storm passed off the north-west coast, Met Éireann meteorologist Matthew Martin said the warning "went quite well".

The storm is currently located off the west coast of Ireland, where the Status Orange warning has been extended until 4pm this evening.

"We received some Status Orange gusts on the west coast," Mr Martin told RTE Radio One's Today with Sean O'Rourke.

"Overnight, we had widespread gusts of between 90 and 100km/h.

Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes
Galway city council installed a portable dam at the Spanish Arch in Galway City ahead of the storm. Photo: Andrew Downes

"The warnings were deemed appropriate, but we will, of course, review the performance of the warnings later this week."

Speaking about the weather this weekend, Mr Martin said rain will continue this afternoon.

"Some rain is pushing back in across the south and the east and it will continue this afternoon.

"More wet weather will spread across the country this weekend and we will have more outbreaks of rain."

ESB's Senior Press Officer Paul Hand said thousands of homes and businesses are without power today due to damage to power lines.

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, he said they do anticipate the number of power outages to increase as the storm moves northwards.

"The outages are mainly in the south and west, west Cork, north Cork and Kerry," he said.

"There are also localised pockets across the country too, we do anticipate that to increase.

Nancy Long stands at the door of her house in the Claddagh Quay in Galway with sandbags and a plastic flood gate for protection against possible flooding from Storm Callum. Photo: Andy Newman
Nancy Long stands at the door of her house in the Claddagh Quay in Galway with sandbags and a plastic flood gate for protection against possible flooding from Storm Callum. Photo: Andy Newman

"Crews are standing ready in all areas of the country.

"Crews will begin deploying shortly in areas where the storm is beginning to abate," he continued. 

"It is still bad on the west coast, it may be well into the mid-morning period before crews can be deployed in the west and northwest."

Stormy: Locals struggle with brollies in Westport, Co Mayo, as the wet, windy weather moves in. Photo: Paul Mealey
Stormy: Locals struggle with brollies in Westport, Co Mayo, as the wet, windy weather moves in. Photo: Paul Mealey

Also speaking this morning, Met Éireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly said the west of the country "is still not out of the woods".

Motorists are being warned to take care on roads as there have been numerous reports of debris and fallen trees.

Criticism

The national forecaster faced widespread criticism last month over its decision not to implement a red warning threat during Storm Ali, which left two dead and thousands without power.

The National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) met yesterday for a briefing on the oncoming Storm Callum, which posed a "risk to life and property", according to forecasters.

Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann briefed the group on expected weather and warnings in place until this afternoon.

The group, made up of State agencies including the Office of Public Works, Met Éireann, the Department of Defence, the Garda, the Defence Forces and the Coast Guard met to co-ordinate the State's response.

Crisis management teams and severe weather alert teams from a number of local authorities across the country were deployed yesterday afternoon.

Galway City Council put in an 80-metre portable dam at Spanish Arch and flood gates at various points around Salthill, while 5,000 sandbags were made available to the public.

Likewise in Dublin, council crews distributed sandbags last night to areas along the coast where flooding might occur, including Howth and Malahide.

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