Thousands are without power around the country this morning after a status orange wind warning for the entire country came into effect at 5am, with high winds and very heavy rain expected on Sunday.
The alert is active until noon while a status yellow rain warning is in place until 3pm. Storm Ciara is expected to produce very strong southwesterly winds with average speeds of 65-80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h.
Ten thousand homes and businesses are without power, with the south of the country being worst affected with outages in Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford and Clare. There are also outages in Wexford and Galway.
Met Éireann said the stormy conditions will result in a significant risk of flooding in coastal areas, especially along western and northwestern coasts.
Aer Lingus is advising all guests travelling on Sunday to check the status of their flight at aerlingus.com before departing for the airport, as there may be some flight delays and cancellations due to Storm Ciara.
Irish Ferries is warning passengers there may be some disruption to sailings over the coming days and advised them to check with its updates online or by telephone ahead of travelling.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service has closed a number of parks around the country on Sunday and is advising the public to not visit any national monuments or nature reserves while the warning is in place.
Galway City Councils severe weather assessment team has convened in anticipation of the bad weather impacting Galway this weekend.
We aware of the current weather advisories. As public safety is our primary concern, we are keeping the situation under review. Our intention is that the Opening Ceremony will still go ahead, but may be subject to alteration. We will update further on Saturday morning.
— Galway 2020 (@galway2020) February 7, 2020
In a statement it said there is a risk of flooding during high tides this Saturday evening and in particular at 5am Sunday morning.
It said high winds and high waves with high tide will result in overtopping along the promenade at Salthill. Car parks in Salthill will be closed from 2pm this (Saturday) afternoon and will remain closed until after high tide on Sunday morning.
Galway City Council will be on standby with crews on the ground during high tide this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Road closures on the promenade will be implemented as required.
The severe weather assessment team will continue to monitor the situation and will put further measures in place as necessary on Sunday and throughout Monday, it added.
Storm Ciara is set to cross the country on Sunday, but its worst impact will be experienced in Northern Ireland and Britain, with the British Met Office warning that it could be the most violent storm to hit there since 2013. The Met Office expects widespread gales that could pose a danger to life.
Met Éireann said it will produce very strong winds over Ireland on Sunday and could cause damage.
While on Friday evening the organisers of Galway 2020 said they were reviewing whether the opening ceremony could go ahead at 6pm on Saturday given the weather warnings, they announced on Saturday morning that the opening had been cancelled.
In a statement organisers said: Galway 2020 is extremely disappointed to announce the cancellation of the finale of our Opening Ceremony this evening due to the severe national weather warnings in place for the whole of today, tonight and tomorrow.
We have been in constant contact with the relevant authorities since the weather warnings were put in place earlier this week and, in the interests of the safety of the public the weather warnings currently in place mean that it has been deemed unsafe to go ahead.
We are saddened for the community cast, our volunteers and the whole team who have worked so hard during the last weeks and months.
Todays event would have marked the finale of what has been a hugely successful week-long series of events on the Fire Tour of lighting ceremonies that have lit up towns across the county.
Storm Ciara will be followed by strong blustery winds and icy temperatures which could bring 10cm of snow to Northern Ireland and blizzard conditions.
Met Éireann forecaster Aoife Murray said heavy rain will arrive into Connaught and west Ulster from midday and will spread across the country reaching the east coast by evening time.
It will be wet and windy for the rest of the day, she said. There will be a brief respite on Saturday night, but the winds will only ease off slightly. Everywhere is susceptible to heavy rain and with it damaging gusts on Sunday.
Monday and Tuesday could see snow in many places especially along the western seaboard. The highest chances of snow will be between Monday night and Tuesday morning and temperatures may be cold enough for lying snow on Tuesday morning.