Ophelia bearing down on Tipperary

People across the Premier County have been battening down the hatches in preparation for Ophelia – the worst storm to hit Ireland in over 50 years.

A Red Weather Alert is in force for the entire country with Hurricane force winds expected to hit all counties.

No unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities should be undertaken.

Ophelia is the most powerful Atlantic storm this far east on record – packing ‘violent, destructive’ gusts of over 130 kilometres per hour.

Motorists in Tipperary can expect fallen trees and debris on most routes once the storm reaches the Premier County in the coming hours.

It’s already battering the South West coast of Kerry and Cork and is expected to cause devastation as hurricane force winds and rain travel up the country from the south.

A Red Weather Alert has been extended to all counties – as a result all schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Tipperary and across the country have been told to remain closed by the Department of Education.

All local RehabCare resource centres, Rehab Enterprises sites, and National Learning Network centres will be closed

Hospital outpatient appointments, court sittings and bus services have been cancelled.

Irish Rail says there will be no services on Limerick Junction to Waterford or Limerick to Ballybrophy via Nenagh – with speed restrictions in place on other routes.

An Emergency Management Team meeting of Tipperary County Council is being held this morning following which further updates will issue from the local authority.

Crisis teams have been mobilised in many counties and the defence forces are on standby to offer assistance where needed.

It’s the most severe storm the country has experienced since 1961 when Hurricane Debbie killed 11 people here.

People are urged not to travel if they don’t have to.

Areas affected by power cuts could be without electricity for days so people are being advised to have torches, to be prepared and to look out for elderly neighbours.

Met Éireann is warning there is a potential risk to lives before Ophelia leaves our shores at 9 o’clock this evening.