Storm Hannah: Met Éireann issue two Status Red weather warnings with 'violent 150km/h gusts' to strike Ireland

Storm Hannah: Met Éireann issue two Status Red weather warnings with 'violent 150km/h gusts' to strike Ireland

Update (3:40pm): Status Red wind warnings have been issued for both Co. Clare and Co. Kerry ahead of Storm Hannah's arrival on Friday evening.

Met Éireann say the storm will bring winds in excess of 80km/h and violent gusts of between 130km/h and 150 km/h in places tonight from around 6pm.

Clare County Council said emergency crews will "only be able to respond to very severe incidents" amid the worst conditions in southwest Ireland.

"The advice to the public is go home, tie up any loose ends that around and stay indoors from around 6pm. High winds are likely to cause a lot of debris and we're expecting fallen trees," the council added.

Earlier: MET Éireann is expected to issue its most severe weather warning today as Storm Hannah approaches the southwest coast of Ireland with "damaging" gusts of up to 120-130km/h expected.

The forecaster has already issued three alerts ahead of the weather front's arrival this afternoon – two Status Orange wind warnings for the entirety of Munster, and one Status Yellow wind advisory for almost all other counties.

But speaking on RTÉ Morning Ireland earlier, meteorologist Liz Walsh warned that the wind alerts "could dip into Status Red territory" – with a review of the warnings due to take place later on Friday.

She said members of the public should be prepared for the anticipated conditions "especially those living or travelling to the southwest with some disruption and power outages likely.

"There is an increased risk of impacts to life and property during times of severe weather with flying debris of particular concern during any wind event. People are advised to take in their BBQ or loose garden furniture, especially after the recent warm spell," Ms Walsh added.

Her colleague John Eagleton said: "We're certainly having discussions about it alright but no decision has been made yet.

"Just a slightly different track but more or less on the same lines. It comes in over the Aran Islands, Storm Hannah, about 8pm and exits south of Dublin just around midnight."

Meanwhile, the independent forecaster Metalert Ireland has already issued its highest level warning.

Dangerous conditions

The arrival of Storm Hannah comes just days after Ireland enjoyed a warm and pleasant Easter Bank Holiday, but Met Éireann has now urged the public to "be prepared for possible disruption and power outages in some western counties".

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising motorists to travel slowly and allow extra distance while driving, as well as to be aware of objects being blown into the road.

It is also urging all road users to check local weather and traffic conditions before setting out on a trip.

"It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front," an RSA spokesperson said.

"Pedestrians and cyclists should take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle."

An Garda Síochána are also urging the public to keep road travel to a minimum during the stormy conditions.

A Garda spokesman said: "Cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians should be aware of the danger posed by high winds as they are particularly vulnerable.

"Drivers of high sided vehicles should take all necessary precautions and pay attention to the warnings.

"We ask people living near coastal, cliff and waterway areas, particularly those with children, to be extra cautious considering the gusty winds forecast."

The UK Met Office has also warned people in southwest England and Wales to be cautious when Storm Hannah crosses the Irish Sea at around midnight.

Red alert?

Status Red weather warnings are the most severe alerts issued by Met Éireann and are particularly rare. But when a red alert is issued, people in areas expected to be affected should take action to protect themselves and/or their properties.

Status Orange weather warnings are issued ahead of expected weather conditions that could significantly impact people, property and activity in an area. People in affected areas should prepare appropriately for the anticipated conditions.

Status Yellow weather warnings are given to warn those at risk from certain weather because of their location and/or their activity. It advises these people to take preventative action. Expected weather conditions in a yellow alert do not pose an immediate risk to the general population.

These three warning categories are issued whenever certain weather conditions are expected within a 48-hour window.

They can also be issued at any time of the year – Status Orange or Status Red alerts, for example, can be brought on by very high temperatures.

Met Éireann also issues Weather Advisories, which are issued for dangerous weather expected in over 48 hours’ time.

Here's Met Éireann's current advice:

Status Orange - Wind warning for Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick

Becoming stormy on Friday evening and overnight as Storm Hannah moves in. Southerly winds, later veering northwesterly will reach mean speeds of 65-80 km/h with gusts of 110 to 130 km/h.

Valid: Friday 26 April 2019 16:00 to Saturday 27 April 2019 05:00

Issued: Thursday 25 April 2019 09:00

Updated: Thursday 25 April 2019 09:00

Status Orange - Wind warning for Tipperary and Waterford

In addition to the yellow wind alert for these counties: Southwest winds veering northwest will reach mean speed of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of 110 to 120km/h for a time tonight.

Valid: Friday 26 April 2019 22:00 to Saturday 27 April 2019 02:00

Issued: Friday 26 April 2019 04:00

Updated: Friday 26 April 2019 04:00

Status Yellow - Wind warning for Connacht, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Wexford, Wicklow, Offaly, Donegal, Tipperary and Waterford

Becoming very windy on Friday night and for a time on Saturday morning. Southerly winds will veer northwesterly and reach mean speeds of 50-65km/h with gusts of 90 to 110 km/h.

Valid: Friday 26 April 2019 23:00 to Saturday 27 April 2019 09:00

Issued: Thursday 25 April 2019 10:00

Updated: Thursday 25 April 2019 10:00

Further update below: