Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Northern Ireland floods risk from hurricane tail-end

Hurricane Katia as seen from International Space Station

Severe gales and flooding are expected to hit Northern Ireland as Hurricane Katia makes its way across the Atlantic, forecasters have warned.

Winds of up to 80mph are predicted to hit Northern Ireland by Monday, with Scotland, north Wales and northern England also likely to be affected.

Met Office forecaster Stuart Brooks said weather conditions will get progressively worse over the weekend with gales expected come Monday.

"On Sunday night there will be heavy rain as well as strong winds picking up - then there will be a high risk of severe gales.

"It's not set in stone yet, but the strongest winds are expected in the north coast - up to 80mph and 60-70mph elsewhere."

Alan Pritchard of the RNLI said people should take extreme caution when out at sea or close to the shore.

"Any high winds could affect travel to and from the mainland - if people are travelling by ferry then check with the companies.

"Gale force winds tend to bring a storm surge and that can lead to higher tides. I would ask people to be wary of extra high tides and don't walk out to areas where you are likely to be cut off.

"Always tell people where you are going and wear a life-jacket."

MeteoGroup UK, the Press Association's weather division, said the storm was going to be a significant event for mid-September.

"Strong winds have been predicted, which could result in trees coming down, causing major structural damage and travel delays.

"Inevitably, with the remnants of a tropical storm, there will also be a risk of flash flooding.

"The hurricane is moving slowly at the moment and current predictions show that the remnants of the storm will hit north-west Scotland by Monday.

"But the exact track of Katia is difficult to predict and it may change over the next few days."

Winds are expected to ease during next week but it will remain blustery across much of the country, it added.

Katia is the second major hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season and was rated as a category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale at its peak. The scale rates hurricanes from one to five, with five being the strongest.

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