UPDATE

Hurricane changes track

West and North West to be worst affected

Observer Staff

Reporter:

Observer Staff

Email:

news@leitrimobserver.ie

Hurricane Ophelia packing dangerously high winds has changed track slightly overnight and it is now expected to cause the most damage in the West and North West of the country when it makes landfall later today.

The National Emergency Coordination Centre in Dublin has been open and staffed since 6am this morning to monitor developments across the country.

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.  Homeless service providers will keep their premises open throughout the day.

The National Emergency Coordination Group will convene again this morning at 10.30am.

Our key public safety & information messages:

·        All unnecessary travel should be avoided today, while the storm is passing..

·        Don’t travel during the height of the storm unless absolutely necessary. Listen to local radio and national media broadcasts regarding the current weather situation. 

·      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.

The public are again reminded to monitor Met Éireann forecasts for their area and to be aware of the weather conditions and to heed safety warnings. Information is available across social media platforms and other traditional media sources.