Storm Barra: People urged against unnecessary travel in areas set to be worst affected

Met Eireann has also warned that disruption to travel and the power supply are likely, along with coastal flooding.

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Winds of more than 130km per hour are set to batter the island on Tuesday, as Ireland prepares for the arrival of Storm Barra.

Gardai have urged against all unnecessary travel in the areas set to be worst affected by Storm Barra.

Met Eireann has also warned that disruption to travel and the power supply are likely, along with coastal flooding.

Cork, Kerry and Clare have been given a red warning, while an orange-level warning is in place for much of the east and west coast.

Any school covered by a red alert or orange warning will remain closed on Tuesday following advice from the Department of Education, with the same advice issued to creches and childcare facilities.

All universities, colleges and third-level institutions in areas covered by a red or orange warning have also been advised to close on Tuesday.

Gardai warned on Monday that strong winds will make driving particularly hazardous.

People have been urged to pay attention to the risk posed by fallen trees, flying debris and flooded roads.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, whose Department is leading the national co-ordination effort ahead of the arrival of the storm, tweeted that his officials have “been in contact with local authorities to ensure every support is available to rough sleepers and those experiencing homelessness”.

“Extreme weather response is in place & there is plenty of bed capacity, no person should be sleeping rough at this time,” he said.

Defence Force troops are on standby ahead of the arrival of the storm, alongside members of Civil Defence.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the storm would be “very, very serious” and urged people to avoid the coast “at all costs”.

He said: “Tomorrow will be a very, very difficult day from a storm perspective.

“It’s very, very serious and we would urge people to stay at home unless necessary in terms of travel, particularly in the counties concerned.

“Watch out for the weather alerts. I think it’s very important that we get the message out there to the public at large, that we are dealing with a very, very serious storm in Storm Barra, tomorrow and right through to Wednesday.

“We have been issuing, in the last 24 hours, warnings to people, particularly near coastlines. People must avoid the coast at all costs.

“Particularly in those counties where we have a strong orange alert or red alerts, travel should be kept to a minimum.

“The usual precautions in terms of falling trees should be adhered to. This is a very, very severe storm.”

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has already confirmed that some Covid-19 test centres and vaccination centres will remain closed on Tuesday.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid tweeted on Monday evening: “Just finished chairing a call of the HSE National Emergency Management Team.

“The safety of our patients, the public and our staff remains paramount. There will be some cancellations to services in high risk areas.”

The Courts Service has also cancelled all sittings in Kerry, Cork, Clare and Newcastle West.

Aldi said that stores in Clare, Cork and Kerry would all close for some or all of Tuesday, with AIB confirming the closure of branches in the same counties.

Head of forecasting at Met Eireann Evelyn Cusack said on Monday evening said that no area would escape the impact of the storm.

She urged people to ensure they secure any items outside their homes.

“The advice obviously is to secure everything but not tomorrow when the storm force winds will be in well before dawn,” Ms Cusack told RTE news.

She described the storm as “quite a long event” and not likely to ease off completely until Wednesday morning.

In Northern Ireland, the Met Office has issued a status yellow warning, with the possibility of disruption to travel, power cuts and damage to buildings.

It warns of a “small chance” that injuries and danger to life could occur “from large waves and beach material being thrown on to sea fronts, coastal roads and properties”.

The Irish Coast Guard has urged the public to avoid any activities that could expose them to “unnecessary danger”.

The red warning will take effect from 6am on Tuesday until 9pm that night.

Orange-level warnings will be in place for Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo and Wexford from 6am on Tuesday until 6am on Wednesday.

An orange warning will also take effect in Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and East Meath from 8am until 1pm on Tuesday.

A yellow warning will be in place for the rest of the country from 2am on Tuesday until 6pm on Wednesday.

A yellow warning will also be in place across Northern Ireland from 6am on Tuesday until 9am on Wednesday.

“South-westerly winds later veering north-westerly will reach mean speeds in excess of 80km/h with severe or damaging gusts in excess of 130km/h,” Met Eireann warned on Monday.

“Due to a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide, coastal flooding is expected. Disruption to power and travel are likely.”

In Northern Ireland, the Met Office said “strong winds and heavy rain bring a risk of some travel disruption and flooding”.

They warned that there was a chance of closed roads and bridges, flooded buildings, tiles blown from roofs, and power cuts may affect mobile phone coverage.

Meanwhile, people living in coastal communities have been urged to prepare for Storm Barra’s imminent arrival and to avoid unnecessary risks.

“Walkers are advised to avoid any exposed areas, including seafront and cliff walkways, as they may be hit by sudden gusts, exposing themselves to unnecessary danger,” a statement said. “All other forms of open-water recreation should be avoided, including by experienced practitioners, as it may result in arousing public concerns and causing rescue services to be alerted.”

Coast Guard Operations Manager Michael O’Toole appealed to the public to remain vigilant, to avoid any unnecessary travel and to monitor Met Eireann weather forecasts.

He said: “Remember, stay back, stay high, stay dry.

“If you see somebody in trouble on the water or on the coast dial 112 or use marine VHF channel 16, and ask for the Coast Guard.”