| 13.3°C Dublin

Warning as 140kph winds are on the way

THE country has been warned to batten down the hatches today as stormforce winds are set to lash the island tonight.

Violent gales of up to 140kph are set to batter the country from this evening, with forecasters warning that they could result in structural damage.

Met Eireann issued a severe weather warning and motorists were told to take extra care because of falling debris.

The strong winds as well as heavy rain will make driving conditions dangerous in places.

Householders and business owners were warned of a risk of structural damage to properties, particularly in exposed areas.

Southwest winds were strengthening during the morning and afternoon as the stormy conditions became widespread.

Gusts of between 100kph and 140kph were hitting coastal areas, with Ulster and Connacht the most badly affected.

The winds were increasing from galeforce to stormforce, with the strength occasionally reaching violent stormforce.

Met Eireann cautioned about the possibility of the high winds causing freak waves in coastal zones.

In Dublin, gusts were reaching between 100kph and 120kph, leading to a risk of structural damage to properties and falling trees.

Forecasters told the Herald that the weather conditions were not being caused by Hurricane Tomas, which had led to flooding fears earlier this week.

Walls of sandbags were erected last weekend along seafront areas like Clontarf and Sandymount to protect against high seas.


However, today's storm is the result of a series of low-pressure systems hovering over the Atlantic and which moved into Ireland this morning.

While the east is not going to be as bad as the north, it is going to be stormy on all coasts, Met Eireann told the Herald,

AA Roadwatch warned motorists of surface water, fallen debris and strong gusty winds this morning.

Drivers were told to reduce speed and increase the distance they allowed for braking.

The storm is expected to abate overnight.

Further heavy rain is due on Saturday.