Met Éireann has issued a warning for strong winds and heavy rain with a risk of spot flooding on the west coast as a consequence of Storm Bella.
The national forecaster put a status yellow wind and rainfall weather warning in place from 3pm on St Stephen’s Day. The storm is set to bring heavy winds and rain into the early hours of Sunday morning. Up to 1,500 homes are without power tonight as the impact of the storm is felt across the country, according to RTÉ.
Met Éireann forecasts westerly winds from the storm will reach speeds of 50km/h-65km/h and gusts of 90km/h-110km/h, potentially even higher near the west coast.
“With the combination of strong winds, high waves and forecasted storm surge, there is a risk of coastal flooding along the west coast,” warned Met Éireann.
Heavy rainfall from the storm has been moving southwards across Ireland over the course of the day and may cause localised spot flooding in some areas. The weather warnings will remain in place until 4am on Sunday.
The rain was forecast to be heaviest in the northwest of the country on Saturday afternoon, before moving southeast.
Windy with widespread heavy rain early tonight, gradually clearing to scattered showers from the northwest with some turning wintry. Lows of 0 to 3 degrees as very strong & gusty west to southwest winds ease overnight with patchy frost & ice forming in more sheltered locations. pic.twitter.com/XZIGIt3RDS
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann)
December 26, 2020
Temperatures will be between seven and 10 degrees.
“Widespread rain with heavy falls bringing a risk of spot flooding, will gradually clear southwards tonight followed by scattered showers,” according to the forecaster.
The heavy gusts will persist into the night, even reaching gale force winds in some western coastal areas.
Met Éireann has also issued a status yellow snow and ice warning for Donegal and Leitrim on Sunday.
The forecaster said expected wintry showers on Sunday means a risk of icy stretches on roads and untreated surfaces. The warning is in place from 6am on Sunday until 8pm that night.
Donegal County Council advised that road gritters would not be in action on St Stephen’s Day evening, that people should “assume that no road is ice free”.
AA Roadwatch has advised motorists driving in these areas to “take extra caution in these conditions, slow down and avoid any harsh manoeuvres”.
The UK Met Office has issued a similar snow and ice warning across Northern Ireland for Sunday, due to rain, sleet and snow overnight creating icy surfaces on roads.
There is also a status orange marine warning in place due to gale force winds on Saturday and Sunday. Met Éireann has said winds could reach storm force 10 levels on Saturday in Irish coastal waters, and in the Irish Sea.