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Some schools to stay closed on Wednesday as Storma Barra blasts Ireland

·6-min read

Schools in the areas worst affected by Storm Barra will remain closed in Ireland on Wednesday, as strong winds continue to cause damage across the country.

With warnings remaining in place until Wednesday and thousands without power, people are being warned to remain cautious in the face of the storm.

The Department of Education confirmed on Tuesday evening that any school currently or forecast to be in a red or orange alert area should remain closed on Wednesday.

The order covers several counties including Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cork and Kerry.

It also covers Waterford, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo and Wexford.

The same advice has been issued to universities, colleges and third-level institutions, as well as childcare facilities and creches.

A red wind warning is place for Cork and Kerry until 9pm on Tuesday, while the red warning for Clare will last until the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Orange warnings will stay in place for counties across the country until tomorrow morning.

On Tuesday evening, a fresh orange wind warning was issued for Dublin starting at 1am on Wednesday morning and lasting until 7am that same day.

Met Eireann warned that the county could see gusts greater than 110km per hour, as well as risks of flooding.

The Department of Education confirmed on Tuesday evening schools in Dublin will now remain closed on Wednesday.

Around 38,000 homes remain without power in the Republic of Ireland late on Tuesday evening and some may not be reconnected for a number of days, after the country was battered by winds of up to 130km per hour.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, ESB said: “Crews are continuing to work late into the night to restore power, where safe to do so, to as many customers as possible.

“Unfortunately, some customers will remain without electricity overnight.”

The Defence Forces have been drafted in for “extensive recovery operations”, to clear debris and damage caused by the storm.

Officials and businesses have been left counting the damage on Tuesday evening, amid warnings that strong winds will persist until Wednesday.

Gardai attended the scene of an overturned truck on the M8, while fallen trees were reported across the country.

Business owners in Bantry, Co Cork, earlier fought to keep flood water from entering properties while members of the fire brigade pumped away water.

Officials have said that as Storm Barra moves eastwards away from Ireland on Wednesday morning, the strongest winds will ease but it will still remain a windy day with a yellow wind and rain warning in place until 6pm on Wednesday.

Met Eireann Meteorologist Liz Walsh said the winds would not ease fully until “tomorrow late afternoon”.

She added: “Very strong winds in combination with high tides means there is a continued risk of large coastal waves and coastal flooding, particularly along southern and western parts of the country.

“Driving conditions will remain tricky and dangerous at times, with the risk of fallen trees, fallen power lines and spot flooding from the heavy rain.

“Temporary outdoor structures will be particularly vulnerable to the expected wind gusts.

“We’re advising the public to listen to their local travel advice and to keep a close eye on Met Eireann forecasts and warnings, as they may be updated.

“Whilst the heaviest rain has cleared, heavy and blustery showers are forecast for today and tomorrow and some of these will be a wintry mix of sleet, snow and hail – along with the strong winds this will make driving conditions tricky with reduced visibility on the road.”

Winter weather Dec 7th 2021
Cork County Council and ESB employees help to clear the road and restore power in Timoleague, West Cork (Andy Gibson/PA)

Earlier, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien warned: “We are only halfway through. The winds may increase, and are projected to do so later in the day and into the evening.

“Not that there’s any sense of complacency. The public have responded really well, but just to be on their guard.

“I think people should be on their guard throughout today and into tonight.”

After making landfall on Tuesday morning, Storm Barra caused flooding in southern parts of the country, particularly in parts of Co Cork.

The impacts have included a flooding of 23 premises in Bantry in Co Cork, some other properties in Galway city and in Cork city.

Emergency financial supports are to be put in place for businesses damaged by Storm Barra, which will not be impacted by the supports in place for those hit by Covid-19 restrictions.

Winter weather Dec 7th 2021
Sandbags are piled up in the town of Bantry in Co Cork which suffered flooding after Storm Barra hit (Andy Gibson/PA)

Minister O’Brien on Tuesday had asked people in red and orange level areas not to travel for vaccinations.

“We’re saying these people particularly in red areas to stay at home, not to leave home, and for people not to take unnecessary trips in other areas,” he said.

“The reality of it is one day, or a day and a half, is not going to impact substantially on what we need to do, with regard to our booster programme.”

Information on any further vaccination and testing centre closures will be provided through the HSE website and social media channels.

Keith Leonard, chair of the National Emergency Coordination Group, earlier urged people to keep their mobile phones charged in case of emergency.

He said: “People should remember to keep their mobile phones charged, because there’s going to be significant power disruptions throughout the country today.

“And if you need emergency services, call 999 and 112.

“Even if your mobile phone is not showing coverage, there’s a good chance that you will be picked up on some signals.

“There will be disruption to the telecommunications networks throughout the country today.”

Winter weather Dec 7th 2021
Members of the fire brigade pump away floodwater in Bantry, County Cork, after Storm Barra hit the UK and Ireland with disruptive winds, heavy rain and snow. (Andy Gibson/PA)

In Northern Ireland, at one stage on Tuesday afternoon over 5,000 homes and businesses were without power.

By around 3.30pm the number of customers without power had dropped to 3,500.

Gusts of 76mph at Orlock Head in Co Down and 71mph at Magilligan in Co Londonderry, among the strongest in the UK, were recorded by the Met Office.

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