Flood warning issued as Storm Callum hits farms

Farmers in western parts of the UK are braced for the effects of Storm Callum, with wind speeds of up 80mph to hit farms, posing risks to property, machinery and livestock.

An intense area of low pressure is passing across the west of Ireland, northern England and Scotland on Friday (12 October).

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for western areas to expect heavy rain on Friday and Saturday (13 October).

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Gale-force winds are forecast in western Ireland and north-western parts of the UK have been told to expect severe gales.

Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders warned that the heavy rainfall could heighten the potential for flooding, especially in coastal areas.

Sioned Warrell, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) duty tactical manager, added: “The current forecasted rain could cause flooding this week, especially in south and west Wales, and we are urging people to prepare themselves.”

Safety tips

Ahead of the storm, the Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland (HSENI) has issued advice urging farmers to secure their buildings and animals and ensure their own personal safety.

The main hazards are falls from height, flying debris or falling objects. The following areas may require specific attention:

  • Extreme care must be taken when working with fallen/damaged trees. They may be unstable, with the risk of crushing for people involved in cutting and removing them.
  • Avoid all work at height. Do not consider going on any roof or near exposed edges – winds in excess of 23mph (force 5) will affect a person’s balance and increase the chance of falls.
  • Stop work in places with a risk of falling objects or collapse of temporary structures, partially built structures and unsupported gable peaks.
  • Remove or secure loose materials that may be blown and become a hazard.
  • Accessing fragile roofs (such as corrugated iron, asbestos and PVC skylights) damaged during the storm should only be undertaken with appropriate equipment to prevent falls through the roof.
  • If electrical power lines have been blown down or if there are any exposed electrical conductors, these must not be approached and the NIE should be contacted on 03457 643643.
  • Check scaffolding is secured and adequately tied and if required, provide additional ties or supports. Following the storm, the scaffolding needs to be inspected by a competent person before being brought back into use.
  • Cranes should be inspected for damage prior to being brought back into service in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual.
  • Cranes should be placed in a safe out-of-service condition. In particular, Luffing jib cranes must be in free slew with the jib at a safe out-of-service radius. The manufacturer’s manual should be consulted for advice on taking the crane out of service in high winds.
  • After the storm, excavations and partially completed structures should be inspected for strength and stability.

Post-storm assessment

An HSENI spokesperson said: “It is vital that employers should take account of the storm and the effect it may have had on work activities.

“There may be significant damage following the storm, therefore it is essential that all clean-up and repair works are both suitably assessed and carried out by competent people.”

For further information please see the HSENI website or contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121.