A red ‘tornado watch’ warning has been issued for Northern Ireland with the imminent arrival of Storm Isha.
TORRO – the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation – has warned that the “powerful Atlantic storm” could cause major disruption across both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The Met Office has put in place warnings for right across the UK for very severe winds.
And TORRO has issued its own severe weather forecast and warns of the potential for tornadoes.
It states: “In and close to the watch area, there is the risk of a few tornadoes, and the potent shear means a strong tornado is possible, especially across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“Additionally, the very strong low-level flow will be mixed to the surface in stronger cores, bringing the risk of gusts of 70-80mph, and perhaps 90-100mph in a few spots, even inland.
“Any supercell which can develop may produce hail, which could reach severe levels, and a few CG (cloud to ground) lightning strikes are possible too, especially across the RoI and N Ireland.”
The warning comes into place from 4pm today (Sunday) and remains in place until 11pm tonight.
Severe warnings for wind remain in place overnight, throughout Sunday and Monday, with the potential for disruption and danger to life.
Amber and yellow warnings have been issued for both wind and rain on Sunday and Monday, with yellow warnings in place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Many forest parks and other facilities across Northern Ireland have been closed ahead of the arrival of Storm Isha.
The Department for Infrastructure has issued its own advice.
A spokesperson said: “The weather conditions could lead to debris on the roads, fallen trees, flooding and spray or large waves on exposed and vulnerable coastal areas.
“Conditions could lead to traffic disruption and the public are being asked to consider their journeys and if travelling are advised to take extra care and exercise caution given the risk of obstructions on the roads.
“Due to the potential for large waves, flooding of coastal roads is also possible – please remember not to drive through flood water.”
The Department’s response to any issued as a result of Storm Isha could also be impacted by ongoing industrial action.
Said the spokesperson: “While contingency arrangements to deal with industrial action are being put in place, this will not replace the full maintenance service from the Department.
“Monitoring of river levels and tidal surges has been ongoing and will continue until the weather warnings have elapsed. Rivers teams will be on standby and have been checking and clearing drainage screens and other assets. Regional Community Resilience Groups have also been advised of weather patterns and to make appropriate preparations.
“It may be necessary to close some roads or put temporary restrictions in place. Road users are reminded to adhere to road signs and any temporary traffic lights. If your journey is essential, reduce your speed, stay well behind the vehicle in front, remain focused and always wear your seatbelt.”