Winds of up to 130kmh are set to batter the country as Storm Callum becomes the latest to reach Ireland – and could pose a “risk to life and property”, according to forecasters.
Coastal counties are being advised to batten down the hatches with Met Éireann issuing a Status Orange warning for 13 counties ahead of its arrival tonight.
The forecaster has advised people to stay away from exposed coastal areas for the duration of the warning, which will come into place from 10pm tonight in places.
“An orange level warning is issued by Met Éireann for wind speeds with the capacity to produce dangerous, stormy conditions which may constitute a risk to life and property,” the forecaster said.
Cork and Kerry will be the first to be hit by the storm late tonight, with the other counties hit by the orange warning at risk from midnight.
Among these are Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Dublin, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath and Waterford.
Heavy rain over Munster and Connacht will spread to Ulster and Leinster this morning. A clearance will soon follow from the southwest and the afternoon will be mainly dry with sunny spells. Afternoon temperatures of 11 to 14 degrees. pic.twitter.com/MrOsGyTXYo
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 11, 2018
The latter counties are not expected to feel the effects until 9am tomorrow.
In Galway, council crews are rolling out the city’s aquadam ahead of potential high-tides of up to six metres.
Galway City Council ‘s Acting Director of Services Garry McMahon said the city are rolling out their rarely-used “aquadam” this morning ahead of the stormy conditions.
Speaking to RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Mr McMahon said council workers will be calling individually to houses and businesses this morning that may be at risk of flooding. They will also be preparing sandbags at “a number of strategic points in the city centre”.
The validity time for some of our warnings have been updated. Please see https://t.co/oOxITrsnvw for up to date information for your area.
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 10, 2018
.@MetEireann have issued an orange warning for #StormCallum effective from 10pm tomorrow evening. We recommend not storing trampolines here . Disassemble them or make sure they are anchored down securely. Same for any garden/patio/balcony furniture. pic.twitter.com/GEJYzGIJ3W
— Dublin Fire Brigade (@DubFireBrigade) October 10, 2018
“We’ve been tracking Storm Callum all week with the weather assessment team,” Mr McMahon told the programme.
“We are aware that high spring tides generally have an effect on the city centre.
“With the advance notice from the OPW and Met Éireann, we’ve been tracking the storm and preparing.”
Mr McMahon said the council were forced to close part of the Promenade Road in Salthill on Monday because of high tides, and he predicts they will do the same this evening.
“What’s facing us overnight and on Friday morning is considerably more than that,” he said.
“Fortunately we are practised now when it comes to weather events.
“We are currently installing the portable aquadam at the fish market, as people know it.
“It is a portable dam filled with water to anchor it. We are currently putting it in place this morning and we’ve installed flood gates at various points in Salthill.
“The most crucial time we’re estimating is this time tomorrow morning, at 7.52am we are expecting a high tide of 5.2 metres,” Mr McMahon continued.
“There is a predicted storm surge behind that of approximately 0.8 metres, which gives us up over six metres.
“There is certainly the possibility of overtopping, that combined with Storm Callum, which is due to hit the west coast of Ireland sometime in the middle of the night, if that combines then we are at significant risk of flooding, in particular in the city centre and that’s why we are putting measures in place.”
Mr McMahon said they believe the storm will move quickly, and they are ready for any quick changes in direction.
A Status Yellow warning has been put in place for the rest of the country.
Gusts will be between 100kmh and 130kmh during these periods.
“Along with a spell of heavy rain and high tides, there is a risk of coastal flooding and damage,” said Met Éireann.
“The strongest winds associated with this event will occur during the night-time hours and Friday morning rush-hour commute.
“Even though the high winds will be the main concern, a spell of heavy and possibly thundery rain will occur too, making for an extremely windy and wet start, with squally conditions associated with the secondary cold front as it tracks north-eastwards up across the country.”
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has urged drivers to exercise extreme caution over the coming days.
The RSA said that with the significant risk of coastal flooding, motorists should not attempt to drive through flooded areas.
They have advised drivers to keep an eye on local weather and traffic reports and the conditions in their area, and have also issued a number of guidelines to take into account until the storm passes, particularly to expect the unexpected:
:: Beware of objects being blown out on the road;
:: Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road;
:: Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds;
:: Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists;
:: Drive with your headlights dipped at all times.
They also advise pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to wear bright clothing with a reflective armband or belt.
Callum is the third named storm of the 2018/19 season.
The other two storms so far were Ali and Bronagh – both in September.