'Mini-tornado' reported in Roscommon as thousands without power

A satellite image taken at 11am today and issued by the UK Met Office

Met Éireann says it has received reports of a small tornado in Co Roscommon as stormy weather conditions continue to affect the country, leaving thousands without power.

Up to 10,000 homes are without power this lunchtime, most of them in Cork and Kerry where a red weather warning is in force, with winds of 160 kilometres per hour forecast.

Met Éireann is also warning of a flooding risk in coastal areas due to high seas and heavy rainfall.

Forecaster Joanna Donnelly says they have even been made aware of reports of a small tornado in Athleague, Co Roscommon.

"We've had reports in alright of the mini-tornado but we haven't been able to observe it ourselves," she said.

"But (it's) not untypical of this sort of very heavy squally showers."

Weather conditions were making it dangerous for drivers around the south and west, with reports of multiple trees having falling, including outside the Fota Island resort in Cork and on the N71 dual carriageway at the viaduct.

Meanwhile strong winds are reported to have blown off a section of roof at a school in Bishopstown, suburban Cork.

And widespread power cuts in the area meant management at Schull Community College in west Cork were forced to send pupils home.

The stormy weather is also causing chaos for the country's transport network.

No flights have been able to take off from Cork Airport since 7.30 this morning - with four incoming services also diverted.

Irish Rail says trains between Cork and Mallow are running 30 minutes behind schedule due to high winds.

And Arwen Foley of AA Roadwatch says driving conditions in Cork and Kerry are treacherous.

"At the moment there's a fallen tree partially blocking traffic on the N22 Cork-Killarney road between Ballincollig and Macroom, at the turn-off for Aherla," she said.

"There's a tree blocking traffic on the Leap to Glandore road as well, while there are also reports of spot flooding on the N72 Mallow-Killarney road by Cork racecourse and Oliver's Cross."

Meanwhile in Cork city centre, a tree has fallen on Pope's Quay onto a number of parked cars.

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