Ireland's weather and national services prepare for gusting high winds and major sea swells along the Atlantic coast as ex-Hurricane Lorenzo approaches.

Hurricane Lorenzo, the strongest storm ever recorded in the north Atlantic basin, maybe stronger than expected as it continues to move towards Ireland with "incredible pace", according to National Emergency Coordination Group.

The eye of the storm will arrive off the coast of Connaught on Thursday evening before it sharply turns towards Ireland with gusts of up to 74.5mph (120km/h). There is now a 90% possibility that parts of the west of Ireland will be battered by tropical-storm-force winds. 

Paddy Mahon, of the National Emergency Coordination Group, told RTE's Morning Ireland radio show "Lorenzo is moving at an incredible pace towards Ireland."

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Reminder that you can get Weather Warning Push Notifications from the Updated Met Éireann App.#Lorenzo

— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 1, 2019

Hurricane Lorenzo will have lost its hurricane status by Thursday when it reaches Ireland, but gale-force winds of 65.2mph (105km/h) from the Atlantic will hit Ireland. 

Lorenzo will then travel across Ireland in a southeasterly direction. Counties Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo will be the worst affected.

Ireland's meteorological services, Met Eireann, have warned that some areas can expect thunderstorms, that could lead to flooding. 

The following warnings were issued on Wednesday morning:

Status Orange - Wind warning for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, and Limerick

Southwesterly winds veering westerly will reach mean speeds 65 to 80km/h with gusts generally of 100 to 130km/h, higher in coastal regions.
Storm surges will produce coastal flooding and damage.

Valid: Thursday 03 October 2019 18:00 to Friday 04 October 2019 03:00

Status Yellow - Wind warning for all of Ireland

Southeasterly winds later veering southwesterly will reach mean speeds 50 to 65km/h with gusts to 100km/h resulting in some disruptive impacts.

Valid: Thursday 03 October 2019 09:00 to Friday 04 October 2019 06:00

Status Yellow - Rainfall warning for all of Ireland

Spells of heavy rain (in excess of 50mm in parts of the west and northwest) will result in some flooding.

Valid: Thursday 03 October 2019 09:00 to Friday 04 October 2019 09:00

Met Eireann said "During Thursday evening the center of Storm Lorenzo will move closer to the northwest coast with strong southwest gales developing on Atlantic coasts and with strong and gusty winds beginning to extend further inland across Connacht and Munster.

"There will also be squally showers and a risk of isolated thunderstorms leading to some spot flooding."

The National Emergency Co-ordination Group met on Wednesday morning before weather warnings are officially issued. 

Our warnings for #Lorenzo have been issued.

All warnings can be viewed here:

An explanation of our warning levels can be found here:

Our Meteorologist's Commentary has been updated and can be viewed here:

— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 2, 2019

Speaking ahead of the meeting Eoghan Murphy, Ireland's Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, said: “Our primary concern is around coastal areas and the very significant storm and wave surges we are going to see."

He warned “It could be quite ferocious, very dangerous. There is a secondary concern around very strong winds.”

Murphy added that the severity of Lorenzo once it hits Ireland is "still to be determined". 

He said "This is an unprecedented hurricane that we see now coming towards Ireland. It will de-intensify if you like, as it reaches as a storm."

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The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) Crisis Management Team has been working, daily since last Friday, with Met Éireann, local authorities and other government departments and agencies to review the storm and its predicted trajectory and intensity.

Local authorities around Ireland have activated their crisis management teams and the Department of Transport has activated its crisis weather plans, with crews ready and on standby. The Electricity Supply Board ready to mobilize responses to restore power if needed. Also, Ireland's Health Service Executive has activated its crisis management teams.