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Storm Ciara set to rage across entire country

Travel warning as gale-force winds and downpours to cause severe flooding

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BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES: Left, people walking the dog on Salthill promenade in Galway city. Photo: Liam McBurney

BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES: Left, people walking the dog on Salthill promenade in Galway city. Photo: Liam McBurney

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BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES: Left, people walking the dog on Salthill promenade in Galway city. Photo: Liam McBurney

Storm Ciara will continue to batter the country until noon today and gale-force winds and blustery showers will persist for the rest of the day.

The centre of the storm was forecast to track to the northwest of Ireland throughout this morning from 5am, with an increased risk of coastal flooding. An orange wind warning for the entire country will remain in place until noon, with winds of up to 80kmh and violent gusts of up to 130kmh likely.

A combination of spring tides and high seas worsened by the stormy conditions will result in a significant risk of coastal flooding, especially along western and northwestern coasts.

Met Eireann warned gale- force winds with damaging gusts will continue throughout the day, with storm-force winds along the west and northwest coasts. Thundery downpours of rain are likely with a yellow rainfall warning in place today, with risks of local flooding problems in several areas, particularly in the west.

Aer Lingus advised people travelling today to check the status of their flight on the airline's website before departing for airports, as there may be some flight delays and cancellations due to Storm Ciara.

Met Eireann's head of forecasting, Evelyn Cusack, said people should avoid making unnecessary journeys this morning. She said gusts "will affect parts of the country not normally impacted by high winds", adding: "The midlands don't generally get it because the friction of the land slows down wind.

"That's why winds are highest at the coast and the land slows them down. But we have a very strong jet stream, that's the upper level winds, and it's extremely strong at the moment. The jet stream is due to the contrast between the low temperatures of the Arctic air and tropical air and, in between these two air masses, you have the jet stream and that's very, very strong at the moment."

She said big spring tides today will get even higher tomorrow and tides will peak on Tuesday, leading to significant risk of flooding on the west coast caused by very high seas, low pressure from the storm and onshore winds.

Today's extreme conditions follow yesterday's yellow wind warnings in most parts of the country. An orange wind warning for Galway forced the cancellation of last night's opening ceremony for the European City of Culture for 2020. In Dublin last night, a person was injured when hit by a falling tree in Crumlin.

Some sunshine is likely to break through later today with blustery showers. It will be colder later with frost and ice in sheltered areas tonight and the possibility of some snow by morning.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are forecast to be very cold and windy as biting wind chill conditions take hold, with some sleet and snow.

Sunday Independent