MET Eireann has issued three high-level weather warnings as ‘storm Rachel’ begins to batter Donegal this evening and is expected to last until tomorrow afternoon.
The meteorological service put in place a ‘status red’ wind alert for exposed coastal and mountain areas of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry, with gusts of 130 kph to 150 kph as well as high onshore winds.
The warning is valid from 9 pm tonight to 12:00 noon tomorrow.
According to the Met Eireann website, the issue of red level severe weather warnings “should” be a comparatively rare event and implies that recipients take action to protect themselves and/or their properties.
“This could be by moving their families out of the danger zone temporarily; by staying indoors; or by other specific actions aimed at mitigating the effects of the weather conditions.”
In addition, a ‘status orange’ wind warning alert has been in place since 2 pm today, with winds expected reach speeds of 90 kph up to 130 kph, with the highest in exposed areas. That warning is valid until 3 pm tomorrow.
Finally, a ‘ status yellow’ rainfall warning for Connacht, Donegal, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick will be in place until 6 pm tomorrow with rainfall totals of 25 mm to 35 mm are expected.
The ESB, meanwhile, said if these strong winds materialise and cause structural damage, there is “significant risk” of power outages for their customers.
“Safety of the public is our highest priority and customers should never approach or touch fallen or low-hanging wires and power lines,” a spokesman said.
“ESB Networks have all of our staff on stand-by to be mobilised when and where required and these will be supplemented by partner organisations such as, our sister networks company Northern Ireland Electricity and contractors if required.
“Please ring 1850 372 999 to report fallen lines, keep others away from them and also alert the Gardaí/Emergency Services.”
The Road Safety Authourity (RSA) said motorists should watch out for falling debris and for vehicles veering in the strong winds.
The public can keep up to date with road conditions by following Donegal County Council on Twitter @roadsdcc or @donegalcouncil or by checking out the councils dedicated Winter Weather website www.donegalcocowinterweather.ie