Met Éireann is warning of very dangerous conditions in Kerry during Storm Ellen.
A status orange wind warning is in place for Kerry, along with six other coastal counties in the west and south.
The rest of the country is under a status yellow wind warning.
It’s in place from 9pm tonight until noon tomorrow.
The Road Safety Authority is asking road users to exercise caution while using the roads for the duration of the warning and over the next few days.
Storm surges, heavy swells and onshore winds, along with heavy rain and the possibility of coastal flooding are expected when Storm Ellen makes landfall tonight.
Head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack says Kerry will experience the worst of the weather tonight, but tomorrow and Friday will also bring dangerous conditions:
Kerry County Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team is meeting; council crews are making preparations and will be on standby to assist.
Residents and businesses are asked to secure all loose items and visitors in campsites and holiday homes are being advised to take extra precautions to secure caravans, camping equipment and any other loose items.
Meanwhile, the RSA is appealing to all road users to take extra care over the coming days.
Anyone travelling is being asked to check local weather and traffic conditions before undertaking their journey and to be aware of possible debris on roads.
The RSA says motorists in high-sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable and says all drivers should slow their speed to avoid aquaplaning and be extra vigilant.
Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are also being asked to ensure they are visible at all times by wearing bright reflective clothing.
Irish Coast Guard has also issued an appeal and is urging people to heed the warnings.
Gerard O’Flynn of the Irish Coast Guard is asking people not to take any risks near water:
- Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds, especially on exposed routes such as dual carriageways and motorways. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.
- Beware of objects being blown onto the road. Expect road conditions to change quickly in high winds so reduce your speed.
- Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road.
- Drivers should allow extra space between themselves and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
- Drivers need to slow down in wet weather conditions, to avoid the risk of aquaplaning. Drivers should also leave a bigger gap between themselves and the vehicle in front.
- If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think. They may also have trees or branches that have fallen that may not be visible.
- Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.
- After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance – this helps to dry the brakes.
- Drive with dipped headlights at all times.
For pedestrians, Cyclists and motorcyclists:
- Visibility and light is reduced in poor weather conditions. Keep safe by making sure you can be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
- Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- Walk on a footpath, where possible and not in the street. If there is a footpath and it is safe to use, look out for falling debris from above, especially in urban areas.
- Walk on the right-hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
- Cyclist should ensure that they and their bike are visible to other road users by investing in a good set of front and rear lights (white at the front, red at the back) and by wearing clothes that help you be seen on your bike such as bright and light reflective items.