Saturday 17 March 2018

Motorists urged to be vigilant of debris and spot flooding as Storm Dylan leaves 800 people without power

Met Eireann issued weather warnings with the west and northwest hit hardest by Storm Dylan

BEFORE THE STORM: Walkers on the Great South Wall in Dublin ahead of the arrival of Storm Dylan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
BEFORE THE STORM: Walkers on the Great South Wall in Dublin ahead of the arrival of Storm Dylan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Wayne O'Connor and Catherine Devine

People travelling for New Year's Eve celebrations today are being warned to be vigilant of debris and spot flooding after nationwide storm warnings from Met Eireann came into effect last night.

A status orange weather alert was issued for Connacht and eight other counties because of high winds and gusts from Storm Dylan. This weather warning was in place until 9am this morning.

A less severe yellow warning was issued for the rest of the country with the storm expected to track northwest towards Scotland by lunchtime. This warning also expired at 9am.

Met Eireann said high winds could lead to structural damage, with branches and trees in sodden areas particularly vulnerable in some of the worst affected counties.

Meteorologist Vincent O'Shea said rain and spot flooding would cause issues for motorists and people travelling today.

He said the biggest impact from the storm would be in western and northern counties, with gusts of 110-125kmh in areas affected by the orange weather alert. These include counties in Connacht as well as Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Longford, Louth, Westmeath, Meath and Clare.

"The spot flooding will be from short and intense bursts of rain," said Mr O'Shea.

"In the most exposed wet and coastal areas you might see big seas coinciding with high water. There could be splashing and waves over piers so people will have to take care in such areas.

"Areas in the north, Munster, Connacht and Co Donegal will probably be hit worst from this."

A spokesperson for ESB said that there was minimal impact on the electricity network as Storm Dylan passed overnight.

"ESB Networks restored supply to approximately 6,700 customers in the west and north west during that 9 hour period.

"As at 8am this morning, 800 customers remain without supply and ESB Networks crews continue to work to restore supply to these customers as quickly as possible.

"Strong winds can cause trees and branches to fall across or bring down electricity wires. If you see any fallen wires, or trees or branches lying across electricity wires, please do not approach or touch the tree or wire. Please ring ESB Networks at 1850 372 999 immediately to report it."

The orange weather alert came into effect last night and is due to be lifted today. A yellow alert runs alongside it for Dublin, the midlands, the east coast and southern parts of the country.

"The degree of severity will vary but it will go towards the centre of the storm's track. That means parts of the northwest will be worst affected.

"On the ground, for people who are out, there is potential for some structural damage. Driving conditions will be most affected because of loose debris and things being blown around. Rain will be associated with this but it will come in a very short space of time so it will cause some spot flooding on roads, with pools of water and hazards for pedestrians or motorists."

AA Roadwatch also warned motorists to take care on roads this morning.

"Watch out for wind-blown debris, especially on secondary routes. Take particular caution around pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists," said AA Roadwatch this morning.

It is likely to be the last major weather event for veteran weatherman Gerald Fleming, who is retiring from Met Eireann at the end of a year that saw Storm Ophelia and a major flooding event in Co Donegal as the two most notable weather events.

He made his debut presenting the weather in 1984 but has been working with the meteorological service for 37 years after joining Met Eireann in 1980.

Mr Fleming will continue to be involved with the World Meteorological Organisation.

Met Eireann has not yet compiled its annual report but it is likely to show that Storm Ophelia was the worst storm of the year, with gusts of 155.6kmh reported at Roches Point, Co Cork, on October 16.

The highest amount of rain to fall on one day in 2017 up to the end of November came during the August floods in Donegal. More than 77mm was reported on August 22 at Malin Head, the station's wettest August day since 1955.

March was the wettest month in the same period, with nearly all monthly rainfall totals at weather stations above their long-term average. The highest monthly rainfall total for the January to November period was recorded at Newport, Co Mayo, in March with 216mm.

However, Mr O'Shea said the year will be remembered most for the violent and destructive winds that battered the country in October.

"The year will be remembered most for Storm Ophelia and for our unsettled summer. It was cooler and wetter than normal and less sunny.

"There were no months that stood out as very hot or dry but the autumn was quite stormy and Storm Ophelia was probably the most notable event."

Sunday Independent

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