Statement from the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather
A National Emergency Coordination Group meeting was held today (Friday 28 February 2020), convened by Minister Eoghan Murphy. Ministers Damien English and Kevin (Boxer) Moran were in attendance also. As the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is designated as the Lead Government Department for coordinating the response to severe weather emergencies at national level, the meeting was chaired by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management.
Met Éireann current forecasts indicate that Storm Jorge will move across the country from Saturday morning through to Sunday morning, moving West to East across the country, potentially bringing strong winds, rain and the threat of coastal flooding.
Report of the National Emergency Coordination Group meeting
The Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) Crisis Management Team has been meeting daily and working with Met Éireann, OPW, local authorities the Defence forces and other Government Departments and agencies daily for the last number of weeks to support the local authority response to flooding and the prolonged period of severe weather experienced, including storm Jorge and its predicted trajectory and intensity.
Flooding is affecting many areas with river catchments responding to the prolonged period of heavy rainfall with houses effected and threatened by rising flood waters. Communities have been working alongside local authorities and the Defence Forces to maintain 24/7 pumping flood defence operations in some areas, especially along the Shannon catchment. Storm Jorge will make conditions for all responders very hazardous tomorrow.
- Local Authorities, who are the lead agency for the response to severe weather have activated their Crisis Management Teams for a number of weeks and Local Coordination Groups continue in preparation for the arrival of Storm Jorge.
- ESB Networks have taken action and are ready to mobilise responses to restore power once the impact of the storm is known. Powercheck app will enable users to gather updates on estimated restoration times. Safety regarding fallen lines will be communicated also.
- Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are on standby with their Community Welfare Officers ready to assist with damage and recovery due to the impacts of flooding and the storm.
- Defence Forces troops are on standby and available to assist in the response if and when required.
- Civil Defence personnel are on standby to assist where required.
Key Public Safety & Information Messages
- People are asked to check on isolated and vulnerable neighbours in advance of the storm tomorrow.
- The public are again reminded to monitor Met Éireann forecasts for their area and to be aware of the weather conditions and to heed safety warnings. Information is available across social media platforms and other traditional media sources.
- In areas affected it is likely there will be:
- High seas; the public are advised to stay away from coastal areas during this period.
- Very strong winds are predicted which will make driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users, e.g., cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and high sided vehicles. Road users should be aware of hazardous travelling conditions. Motorists should slow down and be aware of the dangers of fallen trees, debris and high flood waters.
- An Garda Siochána emphasised the dangerous driving conditions over the next 24 hours and asked people to place safety as a key priority over the coming days.
- It is critical that people prioritise their safety and never touch or approach fallen wires, stay safe and stay clear of fallen or damaged electricity wires and contact the ESB on 1850 372 999
- Keep your mobile phone charged. Mobile phones can connect to the 999 service on any operators network so even where you do not have coverage on your own network it may still be possible to make a 999 call.
- Follow HSA safety advice regarding the use of tools and equipment during and after the storm.
The National Emergency Coordination Group is monitoring the situation and will meet again tomorrow, 29 February 2020 at 11am to review the developing situation.