Irish homeowners urged to prepare ‘home storm kit’
If you thought Mondays were bad already, wait until you see what’s coming on the first day of next week.
AA Ireland is advising homeowners to prepare a home storm kit as the country braces itself for some severe weather when the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia comes our way early next week.
Although it will be an Atlantic storm as opposed to a hurricane by the time it reaches Ireland, Ophelia is still likely to make quite an impact, with Met Éireann warning of “storm-force winds, outbreaks of heavy rain, and very high seas” in a weather advisory warning that’s valid until Tuesday morning.
With that in mind, the AA is advising homeowners in areas likely to experience stormy weather to prepare themselves and their homes accordingly. Among the most important steps for homeowners to take if a storm is forecast in their area is to check their roof for loose tiles and prepare their property accordingly.
Similar to preparing an emergency kit to have in your car, meanwhile, homeowners are also advised to put together a home storm kit containing necessary medication, emergency telephone numbers, a first-aid kit, a torch, and a camera to photograph any damage to ensure they are prepared for the worst.
“As Ophelia is the first severe weather event we’ll have encountered this year, homeowners may not be fully prepared for the potential heavy rainfall and risk of flooding. If possible, we’d recommend that homeowners clear out their gutters and trim any small trees around their property to avoid having their property damaged by water or debris,” said Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs
AA Ireland is also warning motorists to prepare for hazardous driving conditions as a result of the adverse weather conditions.
With the worst of the conditions expected early next week, the AA is reminding motorists to drive at speeds suitable to the conditions, to allow additional distance between themselves and other vehicles and to be aware of vulnerable road users.
“Whether Ireland feels the full force of Ophelia or not it’s important for motorists to prepare themselves for the worst, Faughnan added.
“Stormy conditions are a real danger as not only do gale force winds make maintaining control of the vehicle more difficult, but heavy rainfall can also greatly increase your stopping distance. For example, a car travelling at 120kph can take more than 170 metres to come to a stop in wet and windy conditions.
“This kind of weather can also really impact on a driver’s visibility so it’s important to drive with extra caution and be on the lookout for vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians who opt to brave the stormy conditions.”
AA Ireland also warned drivers to take particular care when driving on motorways as sudden gusts of wind can make what are normally Ireland’s safest roads very hazardous. Strong gusts of wind combined with heavy rain and road spray from other vehicles severely reduces driver visibility and also impacts on the driver’s ability to maintain control of the car.
“Our AA Rescue team also sees a spike in breakdowns during these kind of weather conditions so we would urge motorists to give their car a quick once-over to help them avoid an unexpected breakdown,” Faughnan said.
“For anyone who does breakdown it’s important that you prioritise your safety before calling for assistance by standing behind a barrier if one is present. Unless it is 100% safe for you to do so it’s often better to call for assistance than attempting to repair the car yourself.”