Ireland Hit By Summer Storm Xenja

Today's storm as seen from space at 09:15AM (10:15UTC). Source
Much of Ireland is been affected by storm force winds with hurricane force gusts in exposed locations today (Wednesday, 15 August 2012).

(Storm images/videos can be viewed HERE).

Between 30-60 mms rainfall is expected, particularly in southern coastal counties.

The storm affecting the country has been named Xenja by the German weather service (see below image).
Xenja projected position at 12pm on Thursday. Source

Meteo Times forecaster Peter O'Donnell commented: "A very powerful and unusual summer storm has developed explosively overnight as a deep vortex in the upper atmosphere approaches southwest Ireland. A deep surface low that could reach 972 mbs is currently located about 200 miles south-southwest of Valentia with central pressure about 976 mbs. This will now track almost due north to a point just west of Valentia by 1300-1400h and then up the west coast veering more to the northwest after passing Galway Bay late afternoon Wednesday. The low will remain intense but will pull rapidly away from Ireland in the evening, leaving Mayo in the wake of diminishing southwest gales. Wind speeds should both rise and fall off rather swiftly during various phases of the low's brief rampage."

He added: "All regions will be exposed to strong gusts although the highest wind speeds could be expected near Cork and various exposed locations around the south and east coasts as well as certain inland locations that can channel winds effectively from an ESE to S direction. Hiking above 300m today is strongly discouraged in all regions, the storm will gradually set in by mid-day across the north too. Marine areas south and later west will see hurricane force wind gusts to force 11-12 falling off to 8-10 later, while the Irish Sea will peak around force 9-10 falling off to 5-7 later, so that sailing is strongly discouraged. Waves could overtop shoreline installations around high tide on the south coast, should be a bit less severe on the east coast, but the west coast will have a "chaotic" sea state due to rapidly changing wind directions with short fetch."

A weather warning from Met Eireann also remains in force. The agency says that  a combination of high winds, heavy rainfall, abnormally low pressure and high tides will create dangerous driving conditions in south Munster and east Leinster today. Gale force easterly winds, later veering southerly are expected. Rainfall of up to 50mm, with higher amounts in mountainous areas. There will be a high risk of coastal and river flooding.

Meanwhile, Manager of the Irish Coast Guard, Declan Geoghegan said: "Do not attempt to cross at fast running river or flood water fords as they may be stronger and deeper than you think. Flooded urban areas may contain many hazards, not least of which include submerged open manholes and downed power lines. The combination of tides, forecasted gale warnings for the next day or so, high sea conditions and swollen rivers may result in very dangerous conditions.

Periods of rain becoming heavy, 20-40 mms potential for most but 30-60 mms locally, severe local flooding where ground saturated from previous rain. Moderate to heavy rain in ESE winds 25-45 mph will soon appear across central counties (in the east-west sense) and later into the north. Winds across the south will peak during the morning or mid-day from a SSE direction, reaching 40-70 mph and gusting to near hurricane force at times. There is potential for moderate structural and tree damage. Very exposed higher terrain could see gusts to near 100 mph. Around the southeast and east coasts and well inland, winds will rise to about SE 30-55 mph and will veer rapidly to SW 30-50 mph. Some squally showers or storms could develop along the windshift and the risk for local tornadic wind streaks will be monitored, especially valid around Limerick and Tipps north into the Athlone district and including Laois-Kilkenny.

Connacht will see a more gradual increase in wind speeds all morning to reach SSE 40-60 mph and then a gradual turn to SSW 40-60 mph with higher gusts possible. Ulster may be somewhat protected from the strongest winds and will see wind speeds of about 30-50 mph. There could be some brighter or even sunny intervals later in the day across the southwest and the storm will gradually subside to more of a partly cloudy, isolated showers scenario with winds SW 20-40 mph. Squally and at times heavy rain will continue over many other regions to about midnight or later. Highest temperatures will be 16-18 C for most, 18-20 C in parts of southwest and north Donegal (Malin Head could hit 21 C).

Between 9-10am, 6.5mm rainfall was recorded at Valentia. 5.88mm rainfall recorded at Johnstown Castle during the same period. Between 10-11am, 7.7mm rainfall was recorded at Oak Park in Carlow. An additional 8.6mm rainfall was recorded at the same location from 11am-midday.

Flooding reports from AA Roadwatch: CORK - There is a lot of surface water on the M8 between Fermoy and Mitchelstown.  In Cork City, there is excess surface water between Airport Hill and the Kinsale Rd R/A and on Centre Park Rd.   There is flooding around Castlelack after the river burst its bank. WEXFORD/KILKENNY - Spot flooding has been reported in New Ross. Drive with extra care. The River Argle has burst its banks, as a result the New Ross/Mullinivat Rd (R704) is closed on the Mullinivat side of Listerlin Village. Take an alternative route. WATERFORD -  There is still some flooding around Dungarvan. CLARE - Excess surface water has been reported on the N67 Ennis/Ennistymon Rd coming into Ennistymon. LIMERICK - Heavy rain in Newcastle West with reports of thunder and lightning.   Excess surface water on the N21 Limerick/Tralee Rd at Rathkeale. M8/TIPPERARY - Excess surface water reported on the M8 Dublin/Cork Rd between J7 Cashel North and J10 Cahir North.

Issued at 14 August 2012 - 11:20 - A combination of high winds, heavy rainfall, abnormally low pressure and high tides will cause dangerous conditions in south Munster and east Leinster during Wednesday 15th August. Gale to strong gale force easterly winds, later veering southeasterly to southerly, will occur. Frequent spells of rain will result in accumulations of 30 to 50 mm generally, with higher totals possible in mountainous areas. The will be a high risk of coastal and river flooding.  Valid 0000 15/8/12 to 0000 16/8/12

VIDEO (Simon Keeling)

FORECAST IMAGERY (Click on images for larger view)
Xenja's forecast position at 6pm, Wednesday. Image
Projected rainfall at 6pm, Wednesday. Source
SATELLITE IMAGERY (Click on images for larger view)
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RAINFALL RADAR (Click on image for larger view)
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Useful links To Meteo Times Pages
Meteo Times Forecast here.
Satellite imagery here
Rainfall radar here
Road conditions here
Irish webcams here

Anyone with images relating to the storm may post them via the commenting system below this post. Simply attach the image to your message.  Updates from your area would also be appreciated.