Updated 10pm: All schools and colleges to close tomorrow as Met Eireann warns of ‘potential risk to lives’

All schools and colleges in the North West will be closed tomorrow.

It comes following confirmation from Met Eireann this evening that all counties are now under a Status Red weather warning due to the imminent threat of Storm Ophelia. For the latest visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/oceanfmireland

There is a particular warning for people living near the coast not to go near the water or take chances as very high seas are forecast.

Sligo County Council has also issued a warning and a full statement to Ocean FM News this evening.

Latest Details:

In response to the imminent Storm Ophelia, the Department of Education and Skills is now publicly informing all schools, colleges and other education institutions that they are to remain closed tomorrow, Monday 16 October.

This decision has been made following discussions with members of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning and in light of the advice from Met Éireann on this unprecedented storm.

All schools and colleges will be closed tomorrow.

It follows the updating of the Met Eireann Status Red weather warning to all counties from 6am tomorrow.

In a statement from the Garda Press Office tonight it states:

Met Eireann has issued a revised weather warning in relation to Ex-Hurricane Ophelia. A Status RED warning is now in operation across the country from 06:00 16/10/17 to 23:00 16/10/17.

“Ophelia is forecast to track directly over Ireland during daytime Monday. Violent and destructive gusts are forecast with all areas at risk and in particular the southwest and south in the morning, and eastern counties in the afternoon. Also heavy rain and storm surges along some coasts will result in flooding. There is potential risk to lives”

In light of the revised warning An Garda Síochána wish to renew their appeal to all motorists and members of the public to not make any non-essential journeys. There should be no cycling and drivers of high sided vehicles and motorcyclists should also be aware of the extreme danger posed by gale force winds as they are particularly vulnerable.

People living in coastal areas are also being warned of the risk posed by flooding from storm surge and the Coast Guard is requesting members of the public to avoid any visits or walks to coastal or cliff areas and waterways.

It is envisaged that there will be significant damage caused by winds, especially in the nature of fallen trees and downed power wires. Please assume that any fallen wires are live and do not approach or touch the wires. Please report any fallen wires to the emergency services.

Further information and updates can be obtained from Met Eireann on the website: www.met.ie

Meanwhile, Ocean FM News has been made aware of further cancellations including of outpatient hospital appointments.

The HSE says patients do not need to attend or contact their hospital and they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Patients who are scheduled to have a planned procedure can contact the hospital in the morning to confirm if their procedure is going ahead.

In order to minimise unnecessary travel risks for patients, only urgent procedures will take place tomorrow and only essential community services will operate.

However, the emergency departments and national ambulance service will operate as normal.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has issued a statement tonight stating that Visitors should avoid Glenveagh National Park and Inch Wildfowl Reserve which will be closed for the duration of the weather warning.

Heavy rainfall is expected and there will be a risk of injury from falling trees and wind blown debris.

In a separate statement this evening the Department of Social Protection says ‘All customer appointments with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are cancelled tomorrow. This includes appointments for appeal hearings and appointments with JobPath contractors. Payments will not be affected due to this and affected customers will be contacted by the Department to make rearrangements.’

In a statement to Ocean FM News, Sligo County Council says ‘Motorists and other road users are asked to be vigilant due to the danger of falling trees and overhead wires. Heavy rain may also result in local flooding. Met Eireann has warned that the storm may be of sufficient force to cause structural damage, pedestrians should beware of falling roof slates and other debris.’

Met Eireann Meteorologist Evelyn Cusack has the latest update: