Road closures will be in place this evening as the Isle of Man braces itself for a spell of severe weather in the wake of ex-Hurricane Ophelia.
The Isle of Man Met Office has issued an amber weather warning, with severe gale force winds of 60-70mph forecast to hit the Island. Gusts could reach 80mph in exposed locations at the peak of the storm between 6pm and 8pm, resulting in a risk of structural damage and fallen trees.
Coastal overtopping is also expected around tonight’s high tide at 10:15pm, with 4 to 6 metre waves depositing large amounts of seawater and debris on seafronts around the Island.
Government Departments are coordinating the multi-agency response to the storm to keep the people of the Island safe and to plan the clean-up operation.
High-sided vehicles are advised to avoid the Mountain Road, which will be closed to all traffic from 6pm until midnight. Roads will also be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from 7pm in the worst affected coastal locations – the northern end of Douglas Promenade, Castletown Promenade, Shore Road in Gansey and Fenella Beach/Castle Causeway in Peel.
Motorists are advised to take alternative routes and to park vehicles away from seafront areas. Pedestrians are also urged to exercise extreme caution and stay clear from where waves are breaking.
Sandbags will be deployed to Castletown Promenade and the northern end of Douglas Promenade for use by property owners.
The Department of Infrastructure, Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Service, Coastguard, Manx Utilities and Civil Defence Unit are working in partnership to manage the severe weather event. Officers will assess the conditions around the Island as the storm develops and provide updates via the local media and social media channels.
The Department of Education and Children has confirmed that schools and premises will remain open today and bus services will be operating as normal at the end of the school day. All after-school activities, evening classes, youth clubs, parents’ evenings and private lettings have been cancelled tonight.
People are encouraged to plan their journeys home this evening and to allow more time to reach their destination. Where possible, people should try to get home early and avoid making any non-essential journeys after 5pm.
Travel disruption is expected at the Isle of Man Airport and passengers are advised to check with the carriers about the possible cancellation of flights later this afternoon and this evening. Ferries have been cancelled today.
Public transport will be maintained and passengers should check times and routes ahead of travelling. It is expected that double-decker buses will not be in operation after 5pm.
People should call 999 in the event of emergencies, while any incidents of fallen trees or blocked roads around the Island should be reported to the DoI’s helplines of 850000 or 672000.
Operational updates will be provided by the local media and by the emergency services, Department of Infrastructure, Manx Utilities and Public Transport on Twitter. People can keep up to date with the latest forecast at https://www.gov.im/weather/ and follow @TweetbeatIOM @iomfire @iominfra @iombusandrail and @manx_utilities
The severe winds are forecast to abate from midnight and conditions should be much improved on Tuesday.
People are also asked to remain patient tonight and tomorrow while officers from the Department of Infrastructure and emergency services deal with the clean-up operation that will be required.