Severe wind and rain warnings for NI and ROI
NI Police urged people not to make non-essential trips on Monday amid severe weather alerts across Ireland.
Storm Debbie is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds, and authorities in the north and south have warned of the danger to life.
Met Éireann has expanded the red wind alert – the most severe warning level – to 14 counties. Schools have been asked to postpone opening in affected areas.
A yellow wind warning has been issued for parts of Counties Down and Armagh.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement on Sunday evening: “Please stay at home where possible and do not make non-essential journeys. If you must travel, please take the prevailing circumstances into account.”
“Think about potential risks before you leave. Don’t put yourself or others in unnecessary danger.”
The Met Office said a wave of very strong winds were expected to blow through the morning across Counties Down and Armagh, with inland gusts of 60-65mph possible in places and coastal gusts of up to 75mph.
An orange warning will be in place in these areas from 06:00 GMT until 12:00, as Storm Debbie moves north.
A yellow alert for rain and wind has been issued for all counties in Northern Ireland from 03:00 GMT to 14:00.
Rainfall in some places could reach 40 mm over a six-hour period.
These warnings come as many towns and cities still recovering from recent floods grapple with the potential impact of this latest weather event.
The Met Office warns that homes and businesses in Northern Ireland could be further affected by rain that fell on Monday.
Drivers are urged to expect difficult conditions before moving into drier weather from the south later in the afternoon.
Flying debris and damage to buildings are also possible due to strong winds.
Large waves around the coast can cause injuries and be life-threatening.
“Extreme weather event”
In the Republic of Ireland, the government’s National Emergency Coordination Group met on Sunday to discuss Storm Debbie.
The chief forecaster at Irish weather agency Met Éireann described the storm as an “extreme weather event”.
“We can expect some travel disruptions, some infrastructure issues such as downed power cables,” Eoin Sherlock told reporters after the meeting.
A red wind alert means people should take action to protect themselves and their property.
The rarest weather warning has been in place for counties Clare, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Galway and Roscommon from 02:00 local time until 05:00 on Monday.
There is also a red warning in place for counties Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Meath, Wicklow, Offaly and Westmeath from 05:00 until 08:00.
Mr Sherlock said those living in affected areas could expect winds of up to 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour.
He described the weather system as “very chaotic” and difficult to predict.
Serious features, widespread outages
National Director of Fire and Emergency Management Keith Leonard said Storm Debbie was a “dangerous winter storm with some dangerous features”.
He advised people to stay away from coastal areas because conditions would be “very dangerous” and warned of “very dangerous and difficult conditions” on roads with a large number of fallen trees.
Mr Leonard added: “Very important message in terms of keeping your phone charged. There will be a widespread power outage tomorrow and your mobile phone is your link to emergency services.”
#StormDebbie to update
⚠️Red wind warning⚠️
Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wicklow, Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Roscommon, and Tipperary
Cork upgraded from yellow to orange
Details on impacts and times for your area⬇️https://t.co/1P0YPQeYTB pic.twitter.com/DBmOgD4LVJ
– Met Eireann (@MetEireann) November 12, 2023
An orange wind alert – the second highest level – has been issued for Cork County, from 01:00 to 04:00, with warnings of dangerous travel conditions, damage to power lines and exposed structures, and disruption to services.
An orange alert has been put in place for 19 other counties from 02:00 to 10:00.
Disturbances are also expected at Irish airports and ports. Irish Rail has warned passengers to expect delays as speed restrictions will be implemented across the Republic’s entire rail network for safety reasons due to the storm.
NECG advised schools and kindergartens in all affected districts to remain closed until 10.00 and for those who can work from home to do so.
Yellow warnings have also been issued for the rest of the country.
Storm Debi is the fourth storm of the season that began on September 1.