Country reeling from Storm Ophelia now on high alert for 'weather bomb'

Five counties that were hammered by Hurricane Ophelia are now on high alert for flooding amid warnings of a potential "weather bomb" due to torrential rainfall and high tides.

Met Éireann has issued two Status Orange warnings and three Status Yellow warnings as Storm Brian is set to strike later today.

Storm Brian will spell further misery for tens of thousands of households still without electricity and water following Ophelia on Monday.

News of the storm came as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar briefed his fellow European leaders in Brussels on the damage wreaked by Ophelia.

The European Council agreed to examine the rules around the European Solidarity Fund with a view to making it easier for countries to draw funds from it.

The latest storm will bring potential wind gusts of up to 110kmh to 130kmh from this evening until lunchtime tomorrow.

However, most concern will surround the fact that potentially up to 50mm of rainfall will hit parts of Cork, Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick.

Coupled with a high tide in Cork, there is now a fear of flooding along low-lying coastal areas and parts of Cork city centre.

There is a risk of coastal flooding across the south and south-west.

Councils are working to ensure drains and culverts are clear of debris left from Ophelia so that the rainfall from Storm Brian can be handled.

Met Éireann said that while Storm Brian will not be anywhere near as destructive as Ophelia, it is feared it could hamper the work by Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Irish Water repair crews to tackle damage to networks caused by fallen trees.

Cork, Clare, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford face both wind and rainfall warnings.

An Orange warning is also in effect for Galway and Mayo. Residents can expect gusts of between 110kmh and 130kmh, but that warning is in place from 6am to 6pm tomorrow.

A Status Yellow wind warning has been issued for the entire country from 10pm today for 24 hours, with mean wind speeds of 65kmh likely to again batter Ireland.

Met Éireann warned there was a potential for gusts up to 110kmh at times in some areas.

"The system that may become Storm Brian will undergo explosive cyclogenesis [weather bomb or rapidly deepening pressure system] in the next 24 hours," a spokesperson said.

Torrential rainfall throughout yesterday caused localised flooding around Cork, Waterford and Tipperary. In Cork, worst hit were roads in the Mayfield, Glanmire, Bishopstown and the quays areas of the city.

With heavy rainfall forecast overnight, the greatest risk of flooding will be in Cork city between 9am and 6pm today when tides will reach their highest point.

At the European Council meeting in Brussels, Taosieach Leo Varardkar briefed fellow European leaders on Storm Ophelia.

He thanked the UK and France for sending crews to help repair the damage to the electricity network.

The EU heads of government also discussed the deadly forest fires in Portugal and Spain.

There was a general agreement that the EU needs a more structured mechanism to assist each other after natural disasters to help move fire crews and rescue teams between countries.

The European Council also agreed to examine the rules around the European Solidarity Fund with a view to making it easier for countries to draw down funds from it.

Ireland has 12 weeks to apply for funding but there is no guarantee that the country would qualify under any change in the criteria that emerges from the review.

Earlier this week Mr Varadkar said that while the cost of the storm damage is still being assessed, it almost certainly doesn't reach the current threshold for EU solidarity funding.

Read more news of Dublin on our site.
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