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Advancing Helene is a threat to Irish lives, warn forecasters

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Rough seas yesterday at Runagh, Co Mayo.

Rough seas yesterday at Runagh, Co Mayo.

Rough seas yesterday at Runagh, Co Mayo.

Forecasters have warned that Storm Helene could pose a danger to life when it bears down on Ireland next week.

The storm, currently in the Atlantic, threatens to hit western regions of Ireland and Britain from Monday evening, which could result in a day of disruption and hazardous conditions.

Helene is among a glut of tropical storms brewing in the region, with mass evacuations under way in several southern US states as Florence barrels across Virginia and the Carolinas.

debris

Britain's Met Office issued two yellow alerts yesterday as the storm began creeping towards south-western corners of the UK and the tip of Ireland.

Its warning said "very strong winds" could pose the risk of "injuries and danger to life" because of flying debris.

Large waves lashing coastal regions also have the potential to harm by propelling "beach material" on to seafronts, the warning said.

Forecasters at Met Eireann said they were monitoring Helene in the Atlantic and would issue warnings, if required, closer to the time of landfall.

It is predicted the hurricane will reach Ireland on Monday night as an ex-tropical storm. Met Eireann said the storm will bring wet and windy weather.

It means the Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly, may again be washed out as the annual event is due to start on Tuesday.

Met Eireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly told the Herald that due to the popularity of the Ploughing, a weather warning will be issued sooner than usual.

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Florence (top left) has made its presence felt in the US, but forecasters believe Helene (right) may pose a danger to life in Ireland when it arrives.

Florence (top left) has made its presence felt in the US, but forecasters believe Helene (right) may pose a danger to life in Ireland when it arrives.

AP

Florence (top left) has made its presence felt in the US, but forecasters believe Helene (right) may pose a danger to life in Ireland when it arrives.

"We're aware that there will be a lot more people on the road once the championships start, so we intend on giving the public plenty of notice," she said.

"The hurricane will most likely shift due to its unpredictability.

"But the indications at the moment look like it'll be hit- ting the south coast of the country."

NUI Maynooth's Prof John Sweeney has reassured the public that the oncoming weather will not be as extreme as Oph-elia last October.

"The trajectory is almost identical to that of Ophelia," he said.

"The expectation is that this hurricane will weaken."