Updated post (Thursday, 15 January 2015) available here.
A fierce winter storm is sweeping across Ireland bringing winds of between 100kph and 130kph to much of the country.
Met Éireann has a Red Alert, the highest level warning, in place for County Clare as well as exposed coastal and mountain areas of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Limerick and Kerry.
Mean winds will reach speeds of 90 km/h with gusts of 130 to 150 km/h and will continue through much of Thursday.
Already tonight winds speeds of 110-120km/h have been recorded in Cork, Galway and Donegal.
The below image from EUMETSAT at 9pm on Wednesday shows the storm system located to the northwest of Ireland and Britain.
Clare County Council, following a meeting of the Local Co-ordination Committee and in response to Met Éireann’s issuing of a Red Alert for strong winds, has established an Emergency Call Centre.
The emergency number – 1890 252 943 – has been established for members of the public to report fallen trees, blocked roads and flooding.
“While the entire county will be affected, the most extreme impacts are likely to be along the coastline. The advice is not to venture out or to drive on exposed roads while these conditions prevail,” said the Council.
Power cuts are being reported across Munster as the southwesterly to westerly winds strengthen. See powercheck.ie for the latest outages.
Meanwhile, schools across Clare are heeding the advice of the Department of Education which earlier said schools should consider not opening where a Status Red weather warning related to wind is forecast.
School closures confirmed: Ballycar NS Bansha NS Caherea NS Clonmoney NS Clooney NS Cloonanaha NS Clouna NS Connolly NS Coore NS Corofin NS Cratloe NS Doonbeg NS Ennis – Holy Family, National School, Rice College, Youthreach Ennistymon – CBS, Scoil Mhuire, Vocational School Inch NS Lissycasey NS Kildysart NS Kilkee – Moveen NS, Scoil Réalt na Mara, St Joseph’s Community College Killaloe – St Annes Kilmaley NS Kilnaboy NS Kilnamona NS Kilrush – Community School, Gaelscoil Uí Choimín, St Senan’s Primary Kilshanny NS Lisdoonvarna – Mary Immaculate Secondary School, St Endas NS Moyasta NS Newmarket on Fergus NS Scariff NS Shannon – St. Caimins, St Connaires, St Patricks Comprehensive,St. Tolas NS Sixmilebridge NS Spanish Point – St Josephs Tubber NS Tulla – Secondary & NS
Clare has been battered by a number of storms during the past year, the worst of which occured on February 12th when Storm Darwin downed thousands of trees and caused days of power cuts for much of the County. Shannon Airport recorded the highest gust in Ireland on this date. The 86 knot (159 km/h) gust was recorded on 12th February in Shannon, its highest February gust on record (since 1945) and its highest annual gust since 1961 (53 years).
Meanwhile, much of County Clare experienced snowfall on Tuesday night and early Wednesday. A return to colder conditions is expected later on Thursday and over the weekend with further falls of hail and sleet likely, with snow on higher ground. The cold theme is expected to continue into next week.
According to Met Éireann: “While Sunday next will continue quite cold, winds will ease down steadily and showers will tend to die out. A hard frost will set in for a time on Sunday night but rain, preceded by sleet and snow, is likely to develop in the south and west of the country later. A mixture of rain, sleet and snow will then spread countrywide during Monday, and there may be a risk of significant accumulations of snow further east and north eventually. Generally cold conditions seem set to persist well into next week, with further threats of snowfall from time to time. “
Click here to view snow pictures from around County Clare during the past 24 hours.