Met Éireann upgrades weather warnings

File photo

Met Éireann has issued a series of weather warnings with strong winds forecast to hit the country this afternoon, particularly affecting the west and north-west.

An 'orange'-level weather alert previously issued for counties Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo has been upgraded to 'red' as forecasters predicted gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour in places.

"It will become stormy later today and for a time tonight, in coastal counties of Connacht and west Ulster," Met Éireann said.

"Severe southwest winds with mean speeds of 70 to 90km/h and damaging gusts of 120 to 150km/h, strongest in exposed coastal areas. Very high seas also."

Meanwhile an 'orange'-level warning is in effect for Cavan and Clare, with wind speeds expected to reach up to 120 kilometres per hour, and the rest of the country is under a 'yellow'-level alert warning (gusts of 90 to 100km/h).

All alerts are in place until midnight tonight.

The Coast Guard today strongly advised the public not to go out on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal areas during the inclement weather.

"It is important to be especially vigilant over the festive period where people are engaged in outdoor activities in areas and environments they may not be familiar with and the onset of inclement weather ever present," said spokesmanDeclan Geoghegan.

Management at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre in Co Clare have announced that the tourist attraction will be closed to the public from 1pm today due to the expected strong winds.

According to Katherine Webster, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience “We appeal to people not to visit the Cliffs of Moher from 1pm today as it will be unsafe to do so and the visitor centre will not be open.”

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