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Weather warnings come into effect as Storm Agnes arrives

Much of the country is to be hit with heavy rain and strong winds as Storm Agnes makes landfall this morning.

The storm has the potential to bring "severe and damaging gusts" as well as heavy downpours of rain and localised flooding in parts, making travel conditions very difficult as it tracks northwards across the country.

Met Éireann says "disruption" is likely in many places as the storm passes over.

A Status Orange rain warning has been issued for Cork, Kerry and Waterford with the three counties expected to see spells of heavy downpours between 9am and 3pm.

A Status Orange wind warning has also been issued for a number of southern counties including Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow.

Met Éireann says "very strong and gusty southerly winds with some severe and damaging gusts" can be expected between 9am and 5pm today.

These strong winds could lead to coastal flooding, difficult travel conditions, fall trees and power outages.

A Status Yellow rain warning will remain in effect through the afternoon and evening for Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Carlow, Dublin, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow.

Met Éireann warns that driving conditions during this time will be difficult due to localised flooding and poor visibility on the roads.

The weather warning is in place from 7am until midnight.

Meanwhile, a Status Yellow wind warning has been issued for all counties in Munster, and Leinster and will also include Galway between 7am and midnight tonight.

In the North, a Status Yellow wind warning has been issued by the Met Office for the six counties until 7am on Thursday morning.

A level two storm forecast has been issued across Ireland for severe wind gusts and tornadoes by the European Storm Forecast Experiment (Estofex).

Carlow Weather's Alan O'Reilly said there is a small risk of local tornadoes from Storm Agnes today. 

However, he also said that these are very difficult to forecast and can be "small and very short lived."

Tidal surge to cause flooding in Cork city

Up to 35mm of rain is expected in Cork across a 24-hour-period as Met Éireann says rainfall will continue in the county after the Status Orange warning period expires. 

A tidal surge is also expected in Cork city which may cause localised road flooding in some low-lying quays including Morrison's Island, South Terrace, Union Quay, Lavitt's Quay and Wandesford Quay at high tide. 

Wandesford Quay is expected to be closed between 4:30pm and 5:30pm with lane restrictions set to be put in place on South Terrace and Lavitt's Quay. 

Parking areas on Father Matthew, Morrison's and Union Quays will also be affected. 

Cork City Council is urging motorists to "please slow down and drive with extra care and attention." 

"Driving conditions will be poor throughout the day with strong winds blowing debris around, heavy rain affecting visibility and there being a risk of flooding and debris on roads," it said in a statement. 

Cork City Council is also urging members of the public to secure all bins, trampolines and garden furniture. 

Council crews remain on standby through the day.