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Take a rain check: 100kmh winds to batter country on Valentine's Day

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Cool fun: Sisters Ella (3) and Lola Reid (4), from Knocklyon, enjoy the snow in the Dublin Mountains. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Cool fun: Sisters Ella (3) and Lola Reid (4), from Knocklyon, enjoy the snow in the Dublin Mountains. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Cool fun: Sisters Ella (3) and Lola Reid (4), from Knocklyon, enjoy the snow in the Dublin Mountains. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Romantics planning St Valentine's Day celebrations tomorrow were warned Ireland is set to be battered by strong winds and heavy rain as Storm Dennis sweeps in from the Atlantic.

Met Éireann is now carefully monitoring the precise path of Storm Dennis to determine whether weather alerts need to be issued for Saturday.

Storm winds could exceed 100kmh as it sweeps towards Ireland from Iceland and the north Atlantic.

Irish Water Safety and local authorities have warned people to be exceptionally careful near streams and rivers that are already swollen with huge volumes of rainfall and snow-melt - with three days of further heavy rain now imminent.

Councils are carefully monitoring the risk of flooding in some low-lying areas given that many waterways are already at near capacity from recent rain.

The UK has already warned the storm could pose a threat to life, with Storm Dennis set to hammer the UK just a week after Storm Ciara caused havoc with heavy flooding across Yorkshire and northern England.

The UK Met Office has already issued wind and rain alerts.

Storm Dennis, which is expected to sweep over Ireland and the UK having veered back from Iceland, could also spark numerous cancellations of sporting events.

Met Éireann's Gavin Gallagher stressed that while Ireland will see warmer temperatures than the Arctic blast which marked the past 72 hours, the weather will be very unsettled for the next four days.

Strong winds and heavy rain showers from Storm Dennis will strike Ireland from tomorrow afternoon into Saturday.

"Rain will quickly spread eastwards to all areas during Friday morning, with a clearance from the west to sunny spells and scattered showers during the late morning and early afternoon," he said.

"It will be mostly dry for the afternoon with variable cloud and the odd shower in the west."

The good news is that temperatures will climb to around 11C with no overnight frost.

But winds will increase again overnight tomorrow and into Saturday as Storm Dennis passes and coastal areas experience gale force winds.

"There will be rain in all areas during the morning, heaviest in the west, clearing to blustery showers during the afternoon. Another band of heavy rain will cross the country on Saturday night," said Mr Gallagher.

It will remain very unsettled on Sunday and into Monday before calmer conditions emerge from Tuesday. Met Éireann is set to confirm any Storm Dennis alerts by today.

Irish Independent