Offaly County Council's crisis management team met early this morning (Monday) to discuss preparations for ex-Hurricane Ophelia, which is expected to reach the Midlands early this afternoon.
The crisis management meeting took place at 8am this morning, in county buildings in Tullamore, in light of the red-level weather warning currently in place for the entire country.
The council is advising people in Offaly not to travel, and to remain indoors during the period in which the Status Red weather warning is in place – which is from now until 12:00am on Tuesday. High-sided vehicles should not travel, the council stated.
People are also advised to check their property today to ensure that any loose objects are secured.
An emergency contact number is available on 057 93 46800 - Local numbers are available on http://www.offaly.ie/eng/Contact-Us/
Council staff will be on standby during the course of Monday, but to ensure their safety and welfare they will only be responding to "matters of serious and imminent danger to the public," while the weather warning is in effect.
Updates will be provided during the course of the day on www.offaly.ie , Facebook and Twitter.
Lots of services and business have taken the decision to close for the day. Here is a partial list:
* All schools and colleges nationwide are closed for the day.
* The council's motor tax office, libraries and civic amenity (landfill) sites are closed
* No Bus Éireann services are operating anywhere in the country until at least 2pm today. Check www.buseireann.ie for details of any service resumptions as the day goes on.
* Many shops and businesses, including all branches of Dunnes Stores, Penneys and Supervalu MOPI are closed today.
* All Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection offices are closed.
* Driver Theory Test, Driving Test, and National Driver Licensing (NDLS) Centres will remain closed for the day.
* All hospital outpatient appointments at Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, have been cancelled today. The HSE stated that patients do not need to attend or contact the hospital and their appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
* Train services in Clara and Tullamore have been affected. Irish Rail stated that the 07:30 Galway to Heuston train, the 07:35 Heuston to Galway train, and the 09:25 Heuston to Galway train all operated but after that there are no Galway-Dublin services until further notice.