A Status Red ‘violent storm’ warning is on the way for some marine areas.
Winds exceeding 130km/h are expected, as well as heavy rain, high tides and storm surges that could lead to coastal and localised flooding.
There is also a risk of hail, sleet and snow.
Met Éireann issued a Status Red marine warning from 3am to 11pm on Tuesday – the highest alert level – from Mizen Head to Loop Head to Slyne Head, with south winds reaching violent storm force 11.
It comes along with Status Orange and Yellow marine warnings for the east coast.
Met Éireann yesterday evening upgraded its Status Yellow wind warning for counties Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Galway to a Status Orange alert that will remain in place for 24 hours from 6am on Tuesday while the rest of the country will be under a Status Yellow wind warning over the same period.
Southern and western counties are expected to bear the brunt of the storm that is currently brewing over Canada and will sweep in on the Jetstream as part of a major storm depression that will develop in the mid Atlantic ocean tomorrow.
“The low pressure system will rapidly deepen as it tracks north-eastwards over the Atlantic and approaches Ireland on a strong westerly Jetstream”, according to Met Eireann.
“It’s coming in like a freight train on Tuesday morning,” Met Eireann forecaster Liz Walsh told Independent.ie.
“There will be pulses of strong winds everywhere. It’s going to be a sustained period of strong winds throughout the day,” she said.
Western and southern coasts can expect to be buffeted by southerly winds that will track north-westerly and reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with severe or damaging gusts of up to 130 km/ hr, possibly higher in coastal areas.
Met Eireann is warning that disruption to power and travel are likely due to downed power lines and/or trees and debris that will making driving hazardous, while the State’s National Directorate for Fire & Emergency Management’s Crisis Management Team is warning drivers not to make any unnecessary journeys and to stay away from coastal areas during the storm.
Winds could reach between 90 to 110km/h elsewhere throughout the day, Ms Walsh said, adding there will likely be “a few blasts in the morning and again in the evening along the east coast, including the greater Dublin area, from around 4pm to 7pm.”
She warned the winds could be strong enough to take down outdoor Christmas decorations and advised householders and businesses to secure these items, as well as any outdoor furniture or other unsecured items that could be blown away or turn into missiles.
She said the storm will also involve heavy rain, including “warning levels” of rain in which between 20mm and 30mms of rain could fall within a six-hour time span, bringing the risk of localised flooding.
High waves at sea and storm surges could also bring a “significant possibility of coastal flooding on south and west coasts”
“We are in a period of Spring Tides, and coastal levels are expected to be elevated on Tuesday as a deep low pressure system approaches from the Atlantic resulting in the coincidence of strong winds, high wave and large surge levels.
"The largest surge levels are expected on Atlantic coasts.
"There is still uncertainty between model runs on the timing and path of the low pressure system, which will influence the surge level expected locally along the coast, and the uncertainty should reduce as future model runs become available,” according to a Met Eireann advisory.
While daytime temperatures are expected to range between 5C and 9C, Met Eireann is not ruling out the possibility of hail, sleet and snow on higher ground during the storm.
“Snow is something we’ll be watching for,” Ms Walsh said.
“It’s quite volatile,” she said of the storm’s current progression.
Meanwhile, The National Directorate for Fire & Emergency Management’s Crisis Management Team met with officials from Met Éireann, the Office of Public Works, local authority Severe Weather Assessment Teams and government departments and agencies today to discuss the implications of the coming storm.
“There is an expectation that Met Éireann will issue further warnings in advance of Storm Barra as the likely impacts become clearer,” the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said in a statement this evening.
The crisis management team will “continue to actively monitor this evolving situation working with Met Éireann, OPW and all local authorities,” it read.
In the meantime, it is urging the public to monitor Met Eireann for further updates and warnings and “heed local authority advice during this time.”
“Local authorities have activated their Crisis Management Teams and local co-ordination groups and coastal flood defences are being put in place,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) also issued an advisory this evening urging all road users to be extremely careful if they are on the roads on Tuesday and Tuesday night.
“Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds, especially on exposed routes such as dual carriageways and motorways. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds,” according to the statement from the RSA.
“Beware of objects being blown onto the road. Expect road conditions to change quickly in high winds so reduce your speed. Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road. Drivers should allow extra space between themselves and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.”
The RSA is also urging drivers of the need to slow down in wet weather conditions to avoid the risk of aquaplaning and to leave a bigger gap between themselves and the vehicle in front. Drivers should not attempt to drive through flooded areas on roads as they could be deeper than they appear and they could hide dangerous trees or branches, the RSA warned.
The RSA is also advising pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in counties under the Status Orange alert to postpone their journeys until conditions improve. Others are advised to wear bright clothing and reflective armbands so they can be seen if they do venture out during the storm.