This afternoon the National Directorate for Fire & Emergency Management’s Crisis Management Team conducted a third virtual National Coordination meeting with Met Éireann, the Office of Public Works, Local Authority Severe Weather Assessment Teams and Government Departments and agencies in advance of the arrival of Storm Barra. As the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is designated as the Lead Government Department for coordinating the response to severe weather emergencies at national level, the meeting was chaired by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management.
Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister Patrick O’Donovan were in attendance at the meeting.
Met Éireann has issued a Red wind warning for county Cork, Clare and Kerry tomorrow, as Storm Barra is expected to bring severe and damaging wind gusts in excess of 130km/h. The storm poses life-threatening dangers to the public and therefore being outside (including travel) should be avoided in red/orange wind warning counties. An Orange wind warning is also in place for many western counties and some eastern counties, with a Yellow wind warning covering the rest of the country. Gusts of around 90km/hr are expected widely inland. Dangerous conditions are also expected at sea with marine warnings in place along all Irish coasts, including a Red marine warning for southwestern sea areas.
A yellow rain warning is also in place nationwide, as the strong winds from Storm Barra are accompanied by heavy rain. Heavy rainfall is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday with maximum accumulations approaching threshold levels, with high accumulations expected widely across Munster, south Leinster and west Connacht which may result in localised flooding.
Highest Astronomical tides are widely expected to be exceeded over the outlook along the east coast, south east, south, southwest, and west. Where highest astronomical tides are not exceeded, water levels will still be high, and strong winds and waves will have the potential for localised wave overtopping.
Very strong winds in combination with high tides means there is a risk of large coastal waves and the possibility of coastal flooding, particularly along southern and western parts of the country.
Driving conditions will be dangerous at times, with the risk of fallen trees, fallen power lines and flooding from the heavy rain. Temporary outdoor structures will be particularly vulnerable to the expected wind gusts.
Storm Barra is a dynamic event and the public are asked to monitor Met Éireann for updated warnings and information and heed Local Authority advice during this time. Local Authorities have activated their Crisis Management Teams and Local Co-ordination Groups and Coastal flood defences are being put in place. Road closures are likely in western coastal counties and the public should monitor Local Authority advisories.
The Irish Coast Guard, RSA, An Garda Síochána, Local Authorities and NDFEM are communicating public safety advice based on the warnings issued by Met Éireann.
The Department of Education advises that as a precaution and in the interest of the safety of the school community all schools covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.
The HSE have advised that testing and vaccination centres in red level counties will close operations for the duration of the event with those seeking PCR tests advised to isolate in place for the 24 hour period. In regards to the wider health services, all relevant information is available at www.hse.ie/stormbarra. People with appointments or scheduled procedures should ring to confirm before travelling.
ESB Networks have taken action and are ready to mobilise responses to restore power once the impact of the storm is known. Powercheck app will enable users to gather updates on estimated restoration times. Safety regarding fallen lines will be communicated also.
Department of Social Protection are on standby with their Community Welfare Officers ready to assist with damage and recovery due to the impacts of flooding and the storm. Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment are on standby to activate the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme.
Defence Force troops are on standby and available to assist in the response if and when required.
Civil Defence personnel are on standby to assist where required.
The key public safety messages are: