Members of the public have today been urged to heed the advice of the Irish Coast Guard as Met Eireann has forecast very windy or stormy conditions today with winds gusting 100 to 140km/hr, strongest along the North coast.
A severe weather alert and gale warning has been issued by Met Eireann as west to southwest gales or strong gales are forecast to continue this afternoon on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea, with storm force winds for a time on coasts from Erris Head to Rossan Point to Fair Head. Squally showers or thunderstorms will give some wintry falls of sleet and snow especially on hills but at some low levels also. The showers will be most frequent in the North and West with blizzard-like conditions on some hills.
Severe weather such as this brings not only high winds, but the risk of heavy downpours and the potential for spot flooding. The Coast Guard strongly advise the public not to go out on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal areas during the inclement weather. Huge waves can be whipped up by high seas. These waves can pose hazards to anyone close to the shoreline.
Wintry showers are forecast to continue tonight in the North, Northwest and Southwest overnight with falls of sleet or snow. Showers will be isolated elsewhere. The wind will moderate and it will be very cold with lowest temperatures of plus 2 to minus 2 degrees with some frost and icy patches. Manager of the Irish Coast Guard, Declan Geoghegan said: “Do not attempt to cross at fast running river or flood water fords as they may be stronger and deeper than you think. Flooded urban areas may contain many hazards, not least of which include submerged open manholes and downed power lines. The combination of tides, forecasted gale warnings for the next day or so, high sea conditions and swollen rivers may result in very dangerous conditions.”
Remember to monitor weather broadcasts when travelling and heed the advice of the RSA on road use during severe weather and high winds.
Specific advice from the Coast Guard today (13 December 2011) is:
· Stay away from the shoreline and do not engage in water sports
· Do not venture out unnecessarily when gale force conditions are forecast
· The public are advised to avoid exposed coasts, cliff paths and coastal areas during inclement weather this week
· Owners of small vessels and fishing vessels in coastal waters should seek shelter and secure them properly with moorings.
If you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.