Tuesday 20 February 2018

Time to batten down hatches – a tornado may be on its way

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

GALE-FORCE winds are expected to lash the country again this evening as one storm forecaster predicted a tornado could hit Ireland.

The level one warning issued by the European Storm Forecast Experiment – the lowest of three warning levels – says there is a 5pc possibility a tornado will hit the country.

But the weather outlook is not completely bleak as it is finally starting to feel like spring.

Met Eireann is forecasting milder temperatures in the coming days, reaching up to 15C. It comes after an unseasonably cold spell of weather in recent weeks.

However, strong winds are set to return again this evening as heavy rain rolls in from the Atlantic.

A wind warning was in effect for Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan yesterday as winds of 50-60kmh swept across the country. There were also gusts of up to 110kmh along exposed northern and western coastal areas.

But while that spell of windy weather died out overnight, forecasters are predicting more strong winds and rain to hit the country this evening.

There will be a mixture of sunny spells and showers today, with highest temperatures of up to 15C making it finally feel like spring.

"The wind won't start to show its hand until the evening when the rain pushes in," said Met Eireann forecaster David Rogers.

Tomorrow will be bright with well-scattered showers. However, it will continue windy. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 14C.

There is the possibility of another band of mild, wet and windy weather spreading in from the Atlantic on Wednesday.

Thursday will feel cooler and fresher with a mixture of sunshine and passing showers.

Meanwhile, the European Storm Forecast Experiment, known as Estofex, issued a level one warning for tornadoes.

The forecasters said a depression with strong pressure gradients was situated in the west of the country.

They said a strong wind and low-lifting condensation level "is reason to believe that one or multiple tornadoes may occur", and severe wind gusts are likely.

Estofex is made up of European meteorologists and students in meteorology.

Irish Independent

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