Donegal is bracing itself to receive a weather whipping from the tail-end of Storm Barra.
Met Eireann has upgraded the county to an Orange Weather Warning status from 2am overnight and into tomorrow.
All schools including the Letterkenny Institute of Technology will remain closed tomorrow.
Gust of up to 130kph and more in places have been forecast.
Gardai have warned that only necessary journeys should be undertaken this evening and early tomorrow morning.
Donegal County Council has pre-deployed sandbags at a number of locations where it feels a risk may present given the predicted weather conditions.
These include, Donegal Town, Carndonagh, Ramelton, Dunfanaghy, Burtonport, and Burnfoot. In addition further sandbags are available at a number of Council depots in each of the Municipal Districts should the need arise.
The Council’s Crisis Management Team met today to assess the situation and to ensure that all necessary arrangements are put in place in advance of this severe weather event.
The progress of Storm Barra will continue to be monitored by the Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team.
During the duration of the storm conditions, Donegal County Council are urging road users to minimise their journeys and be aware of road conditions if travelling, particularly in relation to flooding and debris on the road.
Should you need to travel, extreme care should be exercised mindful of the conditions.
Please be aware of the potential of fallen trees, branches, electricity wires, debris on the roads and walk-ways and flooding in certain areas.
The current status Orange Warning for Donegal reads; “Storm Barra: Northwesterly winds will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with severe or damaging gusts of 100 to 130 km/h, with localised stronger winds likely. Due to a combination of high waves, storm surge and high tide, coastal flooding is expected. Disruption to power and travel are likely – Valid: 02:00 Wednesday 08/12/2021 to 14:00 Wednesday 08/12/2021”
A status Red Marine Warning is also in place from Roche’s Point to Loop Head to Rossan Point – “West to northwest winds will reach violent storm force 11 on Irish coastal waters from Roches Point to Loop Head to Rossan Point – Valid: 12:05 Tuesday 07/12/2021 to 00:00 Wednesday 08/12/2021”
The Irish Coast Guard, Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána and Local Authorities have issued the following public safety advice:
• Stay away from all coastal areas for the duration of the Met Éireann warnings
• All road users should be aware of the hazardous traveling conditions, and only necessary journeys should be undertaken. Motorists should slow down and be aware of the dangers of fallen trees and debris. High sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable during this time.
• As conditions will vary throughout the event, people need to take account of the local conditions and advice from their Local Authority.
• The public are warned electricity wires are always live, never approach. If you see fallen or damaged wires, keep clear and phone ESB Networks immediately on 1800 372 999/021 238 2410
The public are advised that due to the onset of the expected high winds (Gusts in up to of 130km/h) the Harry Blaney Bridge is now closed and the Council will provide an update on its reopening in line with the progress of Storm Barra.
As a precaution, the Pier Car Park in Donegal Town will be closed between 18.30pm and 21.30pm this evening as high tide is expected around 20.09pm. The car park will also be closed tomorrow morning between 7.00am and 10.00 am. Warning signs have been erected in the car park to advise motorists of closure periods.
Donegal County 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.
You can keep up to date on conditions by signing up for free alerts to your phone by registering at www.mapalerter.com/donegal or by following Donegal County Council on Facebook or on Twitter @DonegalCouncil.