Schools to decide whether to open as Storm Callum bears down on the country

A Status Orange wind warning will come into force tonight for all coastal counties

Schools to decide whether to open as Storm Callum bears down on the country

Image: Met Éireann

Schools are being asked to make their own decisions on whether to open tomorrow as Storm Callum bears down on the country.

A Status Orange wind warning will come into force tonight for all coastal counties with storm surges and gusts of up to 130kph expected.

The Government’s national National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) met this afternoon to discuss preparations for the weather system – with Crisis Management Teams and Local Coordination Groups activated in all coastal counties.

NECG chair John Barry said he doesn’t expect any closures but schools have been asked to ‘err on the side of caution’ when deciding what to do.

“We don’t expect the conditions will be such that we will be recommending any blanket closure of schools or places of work for tomorrow,” he said.

“But the Department of Education are advising schools and colleges that they should make an assessment in the morning about whether to operate.

“That will be based on local conditions; the updated conditions they find in the morning and also any local impact that may have occurred during the night.”

The warnings are currently in place in Cork and Kerry from 10pm to 9am tomorrow; in Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Clare from 11pm to 5pm tomorrow and in Dublin, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath and Waterford from 12am to 9am tomorrow.

However, Met Éireann said they could be extended tomorrow morning.

Meteorologist Siobháin Ryan said forecasters will be keeping an eye on the storm’s development and will update as needed.

“They expire tomorrow morning, or late tomorrow morning but there is every chance they will be extended well into the afternoon for parts of the country – particularly across the west and northwest,” she said.

“Then later tomorrow, it may well seem like the storm has passed but there is every chance that three will be a sting in the tail of that storm itself.

“There could be a further swathe of wet and very windy weather that well move up across the south and east of the country into the afternoon and evening hours.”

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said he had contacted local authorities to ensure arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of rough sleepers.

He said “cold weather plans” are in place and outreach teams have been engaging with rough sleepers on the streets.

The Inner City Helping Homeless charity is asking the public to report anyone they see sleeping rough, with between 150 and 180 exposed to the elements.

The charity’s chief executive Anthony Flynn said the next few days will be very challenging for the homeless.

“We understand that Dublin City Council are opening up 24-hour facilities but that does not make up the extra 150 to 180 beds that we do need throughout the storm,” he said.

“As far as we know there are no extra beds in the system for the storm so it is going to be very, very difficult over the next two or three days to try and get people in and off the streets.”

The NECG is warning members of the public be aware of local conditions and stay away from coastal areas while the orange warnings are in place.

Motorists should only drive where necessary. If you need to drive, slow down and drive to anticipate strong cross winds and other hazards such as falling/fallen trees.

Stay away from fallen electricity wires or fallen trees and do not drive through flooded areas.

The NECG is due to meet again at 10am tomorrow.