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Storm Ciara to hit as nation goes to the polls this weekend

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Heavy rain. Stock image

Heavy rain. Stock image

Heavy rain. Stock image

Ireland is set to be battered by Storm Ciara as the nation goes to the polls this weekend, with a risk of coastal flooding, heavy rain, and even snow.

Storm Ciara, which is brewing in the North Atlantic, was named by the UK Met Office yesterday.

UK forecasters have issued a severe wind warning for the entire UK with gusts of up to 130kmh. The warning comes into force from 6pm on Saturday until midnight on Sunday.

Met Éireann is tracking the storm's progress and may yet issue its own warnings.

The combination of Storm Ciara and cold air moving from Canada will bring very unsettled weather across Ireland, according to Met Éireann's Matthew Martin.

"It looks like Sunday will see the worst of the weather with some very severe winds and then later in the weekend we could see some wintry showers into Sunday and Monday," he said.

"Unsettled weather is expected to develop across Ireland and north-west Europe this weekend. A further spell of heavy rain is expected on Saturday and this will be accompanied by strong and gusty winds with a possibility of Status Yellow warnings.

"Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate further on Sunday as Storm Ciara tracks to the north of Ireland. Ciara is forecast to be a vigorous Atlantic storm system."

Mr Martin said a range of factors meant it was likely there would be coastal flooding, as well as ice and snow.

"The change will occur as very cold air sweeps out of Canada into the North Atlantic creating a sharp temperature contrast in the atmosphere over the ocean," he said.

"It's possible that there could be some snowfall, particularly in the west.

"The country will enter a period of spring tides this weekend. This will coincide with high seas, as well as extremely windy or stormy conditions later in the weekend and will result in an elevated risk of coastal flooding, especially along western and southern coasts. The unsettled weather is likely to produce significant rainfall over the weekend. This will result in an increase in river levels and may cause some localised flooding.

"Next week, conditions will remain very disturbed across Ireland and the UK. It will remain very windy and turn much colder with the chance of wintry showers and ice in some parts," he added.

Irish Independent