STORM CIARA: Donegal’s emergency services on alert as flood risk is high

High winds and heavy rain coincide with spring tides

STORM CIARA: Donegal’s emergency services on alert as flood risk is high

Donegal County Council has activated its Severe Weather Assessment Team in response to Storm Ciara.

This latest storm is expected to bring strong, squally winds accompanied by heavy rain on Saturday and into Sunday.

A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said: “The team are continuing to monitor the evolving advice from the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) and weather forecasts from Met Éireann and are preparing contingency plans in that context.”

The storm is expected to cause widespread disruption across Ireland the UK, with cancellation of travel and sporting fixtures likely.

However, it is home and business owners who have previously suffered the devastating effects of flooding that are most concerned. The combination of spring tides, heavy rainfall and storm surges is greatly increasing the risk of flooding.

Storm Ciara could bring thunder, hail and snow.

The council spokesperson said: "The public is being asked to be vigilant with regards to falling trees and debris.  Heavy rain may overwhelm drains and gullies leading to surface flooding and property owners and occupiers are being asked to check drains and gullies for potential blockages.

"Sea surges are forecasted along the west coast of up to 1.0m and spring tides are also due from Saturday through to Wednesday. The public are being asked to be extra vigilant along the coast. 

"The Irish Coast Guard is advising the public along coastal areas to ‘Stay back, stay high and stay dry’.

"The Council is asking property owners and occupiers of properties in areas susceptible to coastal flooding to be vigilant. 

"Motorists are being asked to take extra care while driving during stormy weather and to be extra vigilant of cyclists and pedestrians and to be mindful of the risk of falling trees and debris.

 "There is also a risk of power outages and the public are being asked to be prepared and to check on elderly or vulnerable family and neighbours to make sure they are safe and warm."

Donegal County Councils Severe Weather Assessment Team will continue to monitor the situation and all Council Services are in a state of readiness as is the norm.

The Council can be contacted during normal business hours on 074 91 53900 and in the event of an out of hours emergency the Council’s Road Service can be contacted on 074 91 72288.  For emergencies requiring the assistance of the Fire Service call 999 or 112. 

People can keep up to date on conditions by signing up for free phone alerts by registering at www.mapalerter.com/donegal  or by following Donegal County Council on Facebook or on Twitter @DonegalCouncil.

Met Eireann has issued the following weather alerts, with escalation of the status of warnings likely over the weekend:

Wind

A status yellow wind warning is in place from 9.00am on Saturday and throughout Sunday. Southerly winds will strengthen during Saturday, reaching average speeds of 50 to 65km/h with gusts of 90 to 110km/h.

Sunday will see very strong winds over Ireland with a risk of damaging gusts.

Over the weekend the combination of spring tides and high seas as well as stormy conditions will result in an elevated risk of coastal flooding especially along southern, western and northwestern coasts.

Rain

A status yellow warning for rainfall is in place across Ireland.

On Saturday, a spell of heavy rain will spread eastwards across the country with 20 to 40mm expected. Rainfall will be highest in the northwest.

Another spell of heavy rain is expected on Sunday, again with up to 40mm expected. This well clear to squally, wintry showers by evening.

The rain warning is effective from 12.00 noon on Saturday to 3.00pm on Sunday.

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