Schools and colleges across 12 counties have been advised to close on Tuesday due to the threat of Storm Barra.
A number of Covid-19 vaccination and test centres will also close in the west of the country, along with supermarkets and bank branches, while hospital appointments and flights have been cancelled.
Met Éireann has issued a status red wind warning for counties Cork, Kerry and Clare as the weather system is considered “a danger to life”.
The HSE confirmed that all Covid vaccination and test centres will close on Tuesday in Cork, Kerry and Clare, with those seeking PCR tests advised to isolate in place for the 24-hour period.
A number of vaccination centres will also close in Meath, Sligo, Galway, Leitrim and Mayo. There will be no Covid testing at HSE centres in Nenagh, Co Tipperary or Limerick.
UPDATE: the following COVID-19 test centres will be closed tomorrow due to #StormBarra:
📍Tralee, Co Kerry
📍Dunmanway, Co Cork
📍St. Raphaels, Co Cork
📍South Douglas Road, Co Cork
📍The Lee, Co Cork
All appointments for tomorrow will be rescheduled. pic.twitter.com/XbdtyfLdQb
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) December 6, 2021
The Department of Education has advised that all schools in counties affected by both red and orange warnings should close on Tuesday, including those in Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Wexford, Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.
“Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in status orange are likely to change and escalate to status red,” it said in a statement.
“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to schools and parents/guardians, the department is advising that all schools covered by the red alert and orange warning from Met Éireann should not open.”
All universities, colleges and third-level institutions in areas covered by a red or orange warning have also been advised to close on Tuesday.
Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann, the Department is advising that all schools covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December. Full statement here: https://t.co/kk7odRTi0XAdvertisement
— Department of Education (@Education_Ire) December 6, 2021
The HSE confirmed that some of its services will close on Tuesday, with appointments cancelled. “We are focusing on keeping essential, life-saving services available,” the health service said.
It urged the public to “think carefully” before making an emergency call for an ambulance, as “road conditions may be poor in certain areas tomorrow and there may be more emergency calls than usual.”
All outpatient appointments are cancelled at Ennis Hospital in Clare, while all elective inpatient and outpatient appointments and procedures are cancelled at University Hospital Kerry.
In Cork, all elective inpatient, outpatient appointments and procedures are cancelled at Cork University Hospital, Bantry General Hospital, Mallow General Hospital, Mercy University Hospital and South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital with the exception of time critical cases.
These appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible, the South/South West Hospital Group said.
Just finished chairing a call of the HSE National Emergency Management Team. The safety of our patients,the public & our staff remains paramount. There will be some cancellations to services in high risk areas. Please see https://t.co/hQXLAsiars for details. @HSELive #StormBarra
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) December 6, 2021
Aldi will meanwhile shut its stores in Cork, Kerry and Clare on Tuesday ahead of the storm, with a spokesperson saying the retailer is “monitoring the weather situation closely”.
“Due to the status red weather warning, our stores in Cork and Kerry will be closed throughout Tuesday, while our stores in Clare will be closed from 3pm on Tuesday and reopen at 9am Wednesday,” the spokesperson said.
AIB also confirmed it will temporarily close its branches across counties Cork, Kerry and Clare on Tuesday. The bank said its branch in Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick will also be closed “as staff working there are travelling from impacted locations.”
Aer Lingus has meanwhile cancelled a number of its regular flights from Cork Airport due to the storm.
The airline's early morning services to Amsterdam and London Heathrow have been cancelled for Tuesday, December 7th, with Cork Airport advising passengers to check with the airline for further information.
In other closures, the Dublin Port Company will shut public access to the Great South Wall and Bull Island Bridge tomorrow due to high winds and high tides caused by the storm. Great South Wall is closing from 8am to 6pm, while Bull Island Bridge is closing from 12.30 until 2.30pm.
.@CorkAirport wish to advise that due to Storm Barra, @AerLingus has cancelled their early morning services to Amsterdam and London Heathrow tomorrow, December 7. Please check with your airline for further information. #StormBarra #airline #SafetyFirst #StaySafe pic.twitter.com/LGD37QRId3
— Cork Airport (@CorkAirport) December 6, 2021
Met Éireann has issued a red weather warning for Cork, Kerry and Clare, warning Storm Barra is turning into a “weather bomb” and poses “a danger to life”.
The atmospheric pressure which creates the storm energy is twice that anticipated, hence the term “weather bomb”, head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack said.
At lunchtime on Monday, Met Éireann upgraded a wind warning for Kerry and Cork to status red – the forecaster’s highest level of alert – later adding Clare to the upgraded warning.
People in these counties are advised to shelter in place for the duration of the warning, which will take effect from 6am to 9pm on Tuesday.
A red wind warning means consistent wind speeds in excess of 80 kilometres per hour and gusts in excess of 130 kilometres per hour. Conditions are regarded as life-threatening for those who venture outdoors.