Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh has urged people in the county to stay indoors and take all necessary precautions as Storm Ophelia heads for Donegal.
“This is the real thing and people need to be ready,” said McHugh.
“We already know that Cork, Kerry and Mayo are being hit with power outages and trees downed so that is an early warning system for here in Co Donegal. It’s coming this way so I am urging people to be prepared and take all practical steps possible to keep safe.
“Keep in touch with your local radio stations, news websites and social media for any updates – and charge phones in advance of the worst of the storm.
“I’ve spoken to Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe this morning, Defence Forces personnel are on standby. Council staff are ready and on standby and have activated their emergency protocols.
“The National Emergency Coordination Centre in Dublin has been open and staffed since 6am this morning to monitor developments across the country and has been working on this since last Thursday.
“I would ask people in rural communities to check on their neighbours too.”
Minister McHugh went on: “Local Authorities have activated their emergency plans. The full resources of the Defence Forces will be made available to the Local Authorities and the Primary Response Agencies on request.
“The National Emergency Coordination Group will convene again this morning at 10.30am.
“My key messages to people today are:
· Public safety is absolutely key today. Do not put yourself at risk. Stay indoors.
· Do not travel/drive/commute during the storm
· If people are at work, stay in work until the storm has passed their area. The worst of the storm will pass relatively quickly over a four or five hour spell.
· Met Eireann’s website – www.met.ie– will keep all updated as will radio stations, news websites and social media
· These will be very severe, strong damaging winds.
· All unnecessary travel should be avoided today, while the storm is passing.
· This is something we have not seen before in this country
· High seas predicted, the public are advised to stay away from coastal areas during this period.
· Very strong winds are predicted making driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users, e.g., cyclists, pedestrian’s, motorcyclists and high sided vehicles. Road users should pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees and flying debris.
· Given anticipated weather conditions, today is a no bike day.
· Power outages are likely to occur in certain parts of the country, with contingency planning activated by the ESB. The ESB is advising the public to stay away from fallen cables that may have broken due to the high winds. ESB Emergency Services can be contacted at 1850372999.
· Bus Éireann’s schools transport services will not be operating today. Because of the duty of care owed to children and to avoid the risk arising from travelling, the Department of Education and Skills has instructed all schools to act on the Department‘s advice and remain closed. Crèches and Montessori facilities should also remain closed today.
· People are asked to check in on isolated and vulnerable neighbours today in advance of the oncoming severe weather conditions and again after the worst of the event has passed.
· People are advised to remove patio furniture, rubbish bins and any loose items from around buildings, which can be turned into missiles by the wind.