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Storm Gertrude is set to unleash more weather misery

By Cate McCurry

Published 29/01/2016

Winds of up to 80mph could batter Northern Ireland today
Winds of up to 80mph could batter Northern Ireland today

Northern Ireland braced itself for Storm Gertrude last night as winds of up to 80mph were expected to hit parts of the country.

The Met office issued severe weather warnings highlighting the risk of flooding and disruption from rain, winds, snow and ice.

A yellow warning for heavy rain was put in place from yesterday afternoon until 10am today.

The west is expected to be hit hardest, and up to 40mm is expected to fall over high ground.

A more serious amber warning for winds of up to 80mph is in place until 10am.

Last night, Stena Line's 10.30pm sailing to Liverpool was delayed by 60 minutes due to poor weather on the Irish sea. Flights at both Northern Ireland's major airports were not affected.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks warned of possible damage and power outages, especially in coastal areas but said it had emergency crews, engineers and call handlers on stand-by.

"We would like to remind customers that if they do lose electricity, they should report the fault online or call the NIE Networks customer helpline on 03457 643 643," a spokesman added.

The Met Office said to expect heavy rain, followed by bright spells and blustery showers.

It warned that driving conditions were expected to be difficult, with possible disruption to travel, and predicted a bitterly cold Saturday with sleet or snow showers and gales. However, Sunday will be mainly dry with lighter winds, but it will rain later in the day.

Road surface temperatures are expected to fall below freezing overnight into Saturday morning, leading to a risk of icy patches.

A Met Office spokesman said: "The heaviest rain is expected on Friday morning, with the largest rainfall totals likely over west and southwest-facing hills.

"The rain will be accompanied by south-westerly gales which could become severe. There will be some drier spells during the warning period. Please be aware of the risk of localised flooding and potential impacts on travel.

"Another area of low pressure is expected to move quickly east across the Atlantic, bringing spells of heavy rain to Northern Ireland during Friday, particularly in western parts of the country.

"Within the warning area, 10-20mm of rain is likely to fall quite widely, with up to 40mm over high ground."

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