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24 Jan 2022

How to protect your home ahead of Storm Barra #StormBarra

Part of roof of former Clonmel theatre and cinema damaged in Storm Ellen

A tractor clearing up a section of the roof during Storm Ellen. Picture Jamie O'Flaherty

Ireland is due to be hit the hard by Storm Barra sweeping in from the Atlantic tomorrow. 

Met Éireann has issued multiple warnings ahead of the storm, with a red alert wind warning for Cork, Clare and Kerry, orange wind warning for Clare, Waterford, Limerick, Galway, Mayo, Wexford, Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and East Meath. 

However a status yellow wind and rain warning has been issued for the whole country for what has been termed a weather bomb by Met Éireann.

If you live in a high-risk area, it’s not too late to protect your property from the damaging effects of gale force winds, heavy rain or snow. These expert tips will help storm proof your home… 

Protect your valuables

Flooding might follow heavy rain, and water can cause irreparable damage to your home and valuables.

“You can move items that cannot be replaced – such as photograph albums – to safe places on upper floors,” says Ian Paton, partner in building consultancy at Cluttons. Other items to consider relocating include “cars, pets, furniture, electrical equipment and treasured possessions”.

If you don’t have an upper floor, consider moving things like important documents to higher storage spaces, rather than keeping them in drawers close to ground level.

Suzy Tiffany, home claims director at More Than, says: “If you spot any problems immediately before a storm, try and find an expert to get them fixed as soon as possible. But if no experts are available at short notice, try and move any treasured items away from that area of the house, just in case.”

Inspect roofing and gutters

“Check roof tiles are in good order and gutters are free-flowing, and cleared of all leaves and debris,” says Michael Jones, national waterproofing manager at Rentokil Property Care and Peter Cox. 

“It’s important to check your roof is of sturdy build, with no structural damage, such as rot or woodworm, that may cause a collapse due to the weight of snow on the roof. The last storm caused a lot of damage across the country, with reports of gable ends collapsing.”

WATCH LIVE: Track Storm Barra as it barrels into Ireland

Press player on the video above to see the latest projected path of Storm BARRA. You can also zoom in and out using the + and - in the top corner.

 

Plan for evacuation

If there’s a risk you need to evacuate your home, it’s important to be prepared.

“Make sure you are registered with the Environment Agency Flood Warnings Direct scheme and check with your local council to find out where your nearest evacuation centre might be if required,” Paton says. “You should also check if pets are allowed – if not, consider moving your pet elsewhere.”

In the event of floodwater entering your property, make sure you know how to turn off gas, electricity and water mains. Paton adds: “Check insurance is up to date and covers storms and flooding, and that the value of your contents is up to date.”

Prepare a flood kit

A flood kit contains copies of important documents and practical items such as “torches, spare batteries, a windup radio, bottled water (fill all spare vessels with clean drinking water), medicines, spare clothing and blankets”, Paton says.

He also advises keeping a paper copy of “emergency phone numbers in your flood kit, including doctors, energy suppliers, local police, local builders, family and neighbours”.

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