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Statement from the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather

Published on Friday, 04 Oct 2019
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Statement from the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather

Published on Friday, 04 Oct 2019

A National Emergency Coordination Group meeting was held today (Friday 04 October), chaired by Minister Eoghan Murphy to review the impact of Storm Lorenzo and receive feedback from all key stakeholders on impacts, responses and ongoing issues.

The NECG has met four times since Tuesday to fully assess and prepare for the potential impact and threats posed by the strongest Hurricane ever recorded in the North Atlantic, with a wind field of 1600km which had huge effects in the North Atlantic basin, resulting in 12m waves off the West coast of Ireland.

As predicted Storm Lorenzo made landfall last evening, stalled for a time along the West coast, before moving across the country in line with Met Éireann predictions. It brought some very strong onshore winds, with the highest recorded at Mace Head of 89 Km/h mean wind speeds gusting up to 107 Km/h. Rainfall was sporadic and variable with 40mm recorded over a 24 hour period in areas of the North West, with some localised heavy downpours and some flooding as a result.  High sea surges were experienced along the Atlantic coast with some resulting in limited coastal flooding.  Heavy rain is expected to move south-eastwards through Leinster today with a Yellow wind advisory in place until 13.00 today.

Thankfully, there were no major reported incidents or injuries to members of the public or the emergency services. There was also very little damage or destruction of property.

Met Éireann were in daily contact with the National Hurricane Centre in the US and their colleagues in the UK Met Office, to understand and achieve consensus on the probability of the impact on Ireland. The Storm was also assessed in the broader context of prolonged heavy rainfall, associated soil saturation, rivers at just below bank full and trees still in leaf.

Local Authorities, who are the lead agency for the response to severe weather events on the ground, activated their Crisis Management Teams and Local Coordination Groups and had been meeting all week and co-ordinating preparation for the arrival of Storm Lorenzo. Preventative actions taken to mitigate the impact of the storm included the installation of major temporary flood defences, making and dispensing sandbags, public information campaigns, clearing gullies and clearing other contributors to flooding. Local authorities also worked with local Gardaí, Coast Guard and other first responders to ensure the public were aware of the threats. All necessary mitigating actions such as road and beach closures in coastal areas were implemented. 

The Minister stated as follows:

“I want to thank the public for heeding the public safety messages, and all of the State bodies that once again came together to protect our country and citizens from the threats posed by extreme weather. This was potentially a very significant event that threatened public safety, the safety of our emergency responders, infrastructure and property. It was an evolving and unique weather event that made predictions very difficult. The swift and co-ordinated response meant that people were fully aware of the threat, in good time, so that all preventative measures and precautions were taken to mitigate the threats.

I particularly want to thank the NDFEM team and Met Éireann, in my own Department, which is lead Department for these weather emergencies. The quality of data provided by Met to the NECG made the detailed and targeted preparations possible. I also want to thank the local authority and emergency staff locally who ensured this event passed without significant incident or impact. I see first-hand the dedication and commitment shown by all the bodies coming together under the excellent NECG structures and facilities. It gives us all a great sense of assurance when faced with threats such as this.