The MET office issued a severe weather warning, with grim predictions of strong winds and heavy rain throughout much of today following on from last night’s unsettled weather.
Counties Antrim, Down and Londonderry were expected to suffer the worst of the adverse conditions with up to an inch of heavy rain forecast to fall during the day.
All Stenaline crossings between Larne and Stranraer were cancelled because of the strong winds, while P&O have advised conventional ferry passengers travelling between Larne and Cairnryan to expect disruptions. Sailings between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle have also been cancelled.
“It is very windy out there with strong southerly winds and local gales particularly along the coast,” a spokesman for Meteogroup, the Press Association’s weather forecasters, said.
“The winds will turn lighter and rain patchier throughout the afternoon and it should brighten up later in the day.
“However the unsettled weather is likely to continue into Thursday. It will still be pretty blustery with winds of up to 50mph in the morning but easing later in the afternoon. There will also be more showers and longer spells of rain.”
Meanwhile the PSNI has urged drivers, particularly those in high sided vehicles, to take extreme care on the roads.
“We are asking motorists to drive slowly, use dipped headlights and remember others are using the road,” a police spokeswoman said.
The Roads Service said a number of trees had fallen overnight and warned of some flooding and debris on the roads.
“Heavy rain is falling across the road network,” a Traffic Watch NI spokeswoman said. “Extra care should be taken due to the risk of surface water and flooding.”
This is the second major storm to hit Northern Ireland in recent days. Last week more than 6,000 homes were left without electricity after high winds affected the network.