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Storm Katie hits Northern Ireland flights - 100,000 homes go without power in parts of England

By Nevin Farrell and Jonny Bell

Northern Ireland has, as expected, escaped the worst ravages of Storm Katie, however travel to the south of England has been disrupted.

Forecasts for today's Easter holiday say it will be mostly dry and quite pleasant in the sunshine.

However, flights from Belfast International and the city airport have been hit with delays into and out of Gatwick and Heathrow.

In central and southern England, flights have been diverted, around 100,000 homes left without power and trains delayed after heavy rain and winds of up to 106mph hit.

More than 100 flights in and out of Gatwick and Heathrow were cancelled or diverted because of the bad weather.

Travellers told how they were left "terrified" and fearing for their safety as planes, hit by powerful winds, aborted landings at the last minute.

Dan Prance branded his trip back from Budapest to Gatwick the "worst flight of my life" and said passengers were so relieved when they finally touched down that many burst into tears.

He said: "The plane dropped suddenly, swinging left to right. You could see from the windows there was a massive storm happening outside, the wind and rain was smashing against the glass.

"We got closer to the ground at Gatwick until the captain suddenly aborted the landing and we went shooting back up into the sky to attempt again."

He said the plane circled for "a further bumpy hour" as air traffic control tried to find space at Stansted for them. They were eventually diverted to Birmingham.

The Met Office warned that flooding is expected across the South West and issued 136 flood alerts across the country.

Northern Ireland, however, has escaped the worst of the bad weather.

That is good news for businesses hoping to cash in on what is normally one of the busiest days of the year and families looking to have a fun-filled day out.

The Met Office said: "It will be a mostly dry and bright day with only a few showers developing in the afternoon across the Sperrins.

"Light winds will make it feel quite pleasant in the sunshine. Maximum temperature will be 10C."

The outlook for tomorrow until Thursday is scattered heavy showers spreading from the south tomorrow.

Showers will continue the next days and there could be some snow over higher ground before Thursday.

A severe weather warning for strong winds has been issued for today in parts of England and Wales.

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