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Saturday 20 October 2018

Batten down the hatches for 'weather bomb' Brian

Mounting waves at Dun Laoghaire pier yesterday afternoon. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Mounting waves at Dun Laoghaire pier yesterday afternoon. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

We've had Storm Ophelia, and now it's time to batten down the hatches for the approach of Storm Brian, which is being described as a "weather bomb".

Met Eireann has issued five severe wind and rain warnings ahead of the Atlantic storm, which is due to make landfall at 10pm tonight.

A status yellow wind warning has been issued for the whole of Ireland as 65kph winds, gusting to 130kph, are expected.

Orange rain warnings have been put in place for Carlow, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Louth, Meath, Munster, Wexford and Wicklow.

It is estimated that 60mm of rain will fall in the south in only 24 hours.

Powerful

Forecasters said some areas can expect gusts of up to 130kph from midnight to midday tomorrow.

Those powerful winds will come with serious risks of coastal flooding.

Another orange warning was issued for Co Galway and Co Mayo.

Those counties have been warned to expect gusts of between 110kph and 130kph. That warning is in place from 6am to 6pm tomorrow.

Met Eireann took to social media to warn of the approaching storm.

"The weather system that may become Storm Brian will undergo explosive cyclogenesis in the next 24 hours," the forecaster posted on Twitter.

An explosive cyclogenesis, otherwise known as a "weather bomb" or "explosive development", is a rapidly deepening pressure system.

"We are now looking at the depression as it deepens and moves," said Met Eireann

"It is predicted to move towards the south-west of Ireland [tonight] and to move across the country.

"This will bring a risk of strong winds to the south of that."

However, Sean Hogan, the chairman of the National Emergency Coordination Group, said they were not expecting anything like the destruction casued by Storm Ophelia earlier this week.

"We don't have control of nature," Mr Hogan told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland.

"Our job is to manage the consequences and the impact on society.

"Last weekend was an unprecedented event. We had no experience of hurricane conditions.

"We had good warning from Met Eireann and had time to calm and prepare. It enabled us to have a big impact."

Mr Hogan said the ESB has restored electricity to around 312,000 households and businesses, while Irish Water alone has restored supplies to more than 100,000 customers.

"We don't know what the impact will be, I'd be much more confident about the weather ahead," said Mr Hogan, who added that his group's thoughts and sympathies were with the families of those who died in Storm Ophelia.

Heavy rainfall brought by Ophelia left many roads around Cork city and county under spot-flooding.

Fears

Worst hit were roads in the Mayfield, Glanmire, Bishopstown and quays areas of the city.

The torrential rainfall and spot-flooding resulted in traffic misery for commuters, with lengthy delays along all routes into the city.

Cork City Council officials were yesterday monitoring rainfall levels amid fears that, in combination with a high tide, parts of the city quays could flood.

Gardai have urged motorists to slow down and exercise extreme care given the challenging driving conditions.

However, the greatest fear is that heavy rain and winds could bring down trees badly weakened by Hurricane Ophelia last Monday.

Cork took the brunt of the material damage from Ophelia, with more than 400 trees ripped down across the city and county.

A total of 35 giant lime trees, planted to mark the opening of Henry Ford's car plant in Cork more than 100 years ago, were knocked over like dominoes on the Centre Park Road by the winds, which reached 130kph.

The other fear is that the heavy rain and gusting winds, while nowhere near as strong as Ophelia's, could also delay the work of emergency crews in restoring electricity and power to storm-hit households.

Brittany Ferries said yesterday that it has cancelled all sailings today and tomorrow between Cork and Roscoff.

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