Dublin braced for hurricane
Dublin was on major flood alert last night as forecasters warned of heavy rain and winds of up to 100kmh.
Walls of sandbags were erected along the Clontarf seafront as the Republic prepared for a battering from Hurricane Tomas, currently rampaging through the Caribbean.
Dublin City Council has put a crisis management team in place with high tides, heavy rain, and winds of up to 100kmh forecast for Sunday night.
Car parks at Clontarf and Sandymount will be closed on Sunday and Monday as a precaution and the city's Boardwalk will also remained closed throughout the weekend.
A €7m flood wall on the Liffey has been closed to prevent flooding during high tides at midnight on Sunday and midday Monday.
Motorists and homeowners in other coastal towns such as Galway and Cork have also been warned of a risk of flooding this weekend as the remnants of the hurricane heads for the Irish coastline.
Dublin's Lord Mayor Gerry Breen, who lives in Clontarf, said the council has already put sandbags along the coastal area.
"They usually put them up between Alfie Byrne Road and Vernon Avenue -- they're the most susceptible areas," Cllr Breen (FG) said.
He said the city council is "preparing well" for the possibility of flooding, adding: "They have an early warning system regarding risks. They sent it (the warning) out quite early."
He pointed out the risk is from tidal flooding and not from rain or river flows.
"The general problem for people will be the fact of winds of 70 to 100kph. That alone could be a problem in terms of falling branches or trees.
"People should just be careful," he said.
A Met Eireann spokesman said: "There are concerns these high winds coupled with high tides could lead to flooding.
"Although the hurricane will be significantly weaker by the time it hits us, we are predicting winds of up to 100kmh and very high waves which always set alarm bells ringing," he added.
Safety barriers have been erected at the Spanish Arch in Galway and council transport crews will be on call over the weekend.
Roads elsewhere in Dublin may also be closed over the weekend as the council starts deploying temporary flood defences across the city.
Motorists and property owners are being warned of flooding on the eastern and western seaboards.
Tom Leahy, executive manager with Dublin City Council advised the public to stay alert and tune into weather bulletins.
"It will change. It may change for the better, it may change for the worse but the good news is that we have sufficient advance warning that we can plan together," he said.
He explained that officials are concerned because of predictions made by tidal surge monitoring equipment.
"It's a concern. The information we've got from forecast service is that the incident could be a little bit lower than 2002."
He added: "We've put a crisis management team in place."
The most severe tidal warnings are in place for midnight on Sunday and midday on Monday.