All Laois schools will be closed tomorrow as Hurricane Ophelia barrels towards the country.
Met Eireann has upgraded their weather warning for all counties to Status Red – which is the highest weather alert it can issue.
They say that this will be the most severe weather event to his this country since Hurricane Debbie hit in 1961, which resulted in 15 deaths.
This evening Met Eireann confirmed that a red weather warning has been extended nationwide.
Speaking on this evening’s weather forecast, meteorologist Joanna Donnelly told viewers: “this is not the remnants of a hurricane – this is a hurricane.
“And with the uncertainty of developing hurricanes and the track of those winds there’s always the opportunity to upgrade this red warning to all counties.
“We’re looking at devastating impact and the potential for devastating impact for all counties tomorrow.”
Earlier, following a meeting of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, all schools in areas affected by Met Éireann’s status red weather warning were told to remain closed tomorrow.
And now they say: “The decision has been made following discussions with members of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning and in light of the advice from Met Eireann on this unprecedented storm.”
Ex-Hurricane Ophelia is set arrive in Kerry at about 6am tomorrow morning.
Gale to storm force southerly winds will occur with severe and damaging gusts – winds strongest along southern counties with the risk of storm surge here, along with very high seas.
Structural damage is possible anywhere and people are being told that these are life-threatening conditions. Heavy rainfall and localised flooding is also a possibility.
The storm will track northwards Monday night and is due to exit Irish coastal waters before midnight.
Rain can be expected over the country from tonight.
Multiple universities – including UL, UCC, NUIG, CIT, WIT, Mary Immaculate and others – are all remaining closed tomorrow.
There are widespread court service cancellations, as well as other state service and meetings.
At the NEC meeting meteorologist Evelyn Cusack said that at least coastal flooding should be expected due to exceptionally high waves.
There have been widespread bus, flight and ferry cancellations also as a result of the storm.