Belfast Telegraph

Storm Barney: Weather warning issued for Northern Ireland after severe winds leave thousands without power across the UK and Republic of Ireland

  • Dublin-bound planes diverted to Belfast
  • 45,000 without power in the Republic
  • Storm Barney the second storm to be named after Abigail

Storm Barney is expected to bring severe weather to Northern Ireland with Yellow "be ware" warnings for wind being issued by the Met Office from midday Wednesday through Thursday night.

Southwesterly gales will become severe in exposed areas during Wednesday afternoon and evening. Gusts of 50-60 mph will develop over more exposed inland areas with gusts of 60-70 mph possible around the coasts of western Scotland and the north coast of Northern Ireland.

The winds will last into the early hours of Thursday. Heavy showers could also lead to some surface water flooding on the roads especially over parts of western Scotland.

The Met Office has issued a warning for difficult driving conditions and the risk of some minor travel disruption on roads and to ferries.

Amid the Met Office warning, PSNI Air Support tweeted a photo of two rescue helicopters 'ready to go if a call comes in'.

Roaring winds downed trees, caused power cuts and led to flooding as Barney swept through the UK and Ireland this week.

Storm Barney is the second storm deemed strong enough to be given its own name this season with winds up to 85mph that swept across the south of England, as well as Wales and Ireland through Tuesday night.

Flights to Dublin Airport were diverted to Belfast due to strong winds yesterday.

AccuWeather meteorologists have predicted rainfall from Barney to generally total around 25 mm (1 inch), but as much as 50 mm (2 inches) may fall in some areas.

There is also a weather warning for rain in the next few days centred on the north west of England and Wales, coming hard on the heels of torrential rain which saw rivers burst their banks and localised flooding affecting roads, farmland and train services.

The Met Office is warning that given the already saturated conditions, communities could see more floods from standing water or swollen rivers that could lead to travel disruption.

There is due to be a change in the weather at the end of the week with colder air spreading from the north, bringing wintry showers to the northern UK, particularly over the hills.

Despite the threat of more bad weather, the Environment Agency said the flood risk across northern England was receding - although river levels will remain high in the week ahead.

In particular, the River Ouse in North Yorkshire and York will remain high until Thursday, where there could be further localised flooding, the agency said.

Elsewhere, many flood warnings for rivers have been removed, although 22 are still in place, along with dozens of flood alerts.

Gale and severe gale force westerly winds which will hit parts of the UK as Storm Barney comes in are expected to generate large waves around exposed coasts in south-west England and the English Channel.

But while some localised spray and waves coming over sea defences is possible, the overall coastal flood risk is very low, the Environment Agency said.

More than 20,000 homes were protected by Environment Agency flood schemes this weekend, according to the organisation which deployed more than 600 metres (2,000ft) of temporary defences with the help of 20 military personnel, to protect homes at Braystones, Whalley, Warwick Bridge and Ribchester.

Craig Woolhouse, director of incident management at the Environment Agency, said: "The flood risk will recede across northern England over the coming days, although river levels will remain high.

"The public should remain alert to the risk of flooding and stay away from raging rivers. With so much standing water around, we ask people to stay out of flood water and not attempt to walk or drive through it."

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Barney will affect drivers further south than Abigail did, so many will be having to deal with their first real dose of strong autumn winds. We urge anyone on the road in the thick of the storm to slow down and leave plenty of space behind the vehicle in front.

"Motorists should resist the temptation to drive through standing water unless they are sure it is shallow enough to get through safely, otherwise it could prove to be a very costly mistake."

Storm Barney causes power cuts as it lashes Republic

Storm Barney wiped out power in 45,000 homes across Ireland as it swept in off the Atlantic.

Hurricane force winds were recorded offshore at weather buoys and lighthouses along the south coast with at least five flights into and out of Cork Airport grounded as winds gusted to about 125km/h.

The mid-west, south and east of the country bore the brunt and by tea time blackouts were reported in Tullamore, Athlone, Loughrea, Ennis, Tralee, Limerick, Killarney, Newcastlewest, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Roscrea, Bray and Arklow.

The highest wind speeds were recorded on the Fastnet Lighthouse with gusts up to 146km/h at 1pm.

In Dublin city centre Dawson Street was closed to the public after scaffolding fell while a large tree was also reported to have fallen in Ballybrack.

Fallen trees were also reported in parts of Ennis and Galway city while the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre was closed for safety reasons and treacherous driving conditions on motorways.

"Crews from ESB Networks have been dispatched in the affected areas, making the electricity network safe and are in the process of restoring power as quickly and effectively as possible," ESB Networks said.

"We apologise again for the impact this storm has had on all our customers."

About 15,000 homes in Co Clare were initially left without power, 12,000 in Munster another 10,000 homes in the south east.

Met Eireann warned of damaging winds gusting from 110km/h to 130 km/h especially over Munster and Leinster as Storm Barney tracked north-west towards Scotland.

Shannon Airport recorded wind gusting to 128km/h with a service from London Gatwick diverted and another from Birmingham cancelled.

Forecasters kept their advice to the public at status orange urging people to take precautions amid concerns of significant impact but the storm was reportedly moving quickly across the country.

Difficult driving conditions were reported nationwide with debris and broken branches being blown into the path of cars.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged people on the roads to take extreme care.

It cautioned people to expect the unexpected while vehicle control could be affected by strong cross winds with h igh sided vehicles and motorcyclists particularly vulnerable.

Ryanair flight aborts two attempted landings in Dublin

A Ryanair flight aborted two attempted landings at Shannon Airport today before being forced to divert to Liverpool.

The airport reported the highest winds in the country as Storm Barney battered the island with the west coast suffering the brunt of its force.

With winds at Cork and Dublin also too strong for Ryanair flight FR-1183 from London Gatwick, the opted to divert to the nearest suitable airport which in this case was Liverpool.

The flight was due in Shannon at 2.40pm and the crew had commenced an approach when they decided to abort the attempt. The crew performed a ‘go-around’ procedure and entered a holding pattern in the hope the winds would die down.

The pilot confirmed that the maximum wind speed in which they could land was 50 knots (92.6 kmh) and they would not be able to land in anything higher than that.

A short time later, the crew commenced a second approach to the airport however winds were still too strong for a safe landing.

At the time, winds at Shannon Airport were gusting as high as 61 knots (113 kmh) while later, winds reached as high as 69 knots (128 kmh).

Winds in Dublin and Cork were also reported to be gusting over the 50 knot limit so the flight was unable to land at either airport.

A Ryanair spokeswoman said: "This flight from London Gatwick to Shannon performed a routine go-around before diverting to Liverpool due to high winds at Shannon Airport.

"The aircraft landed normally at Liverpool and will depart for Shannon when the weather improves. Ryanair sincerely apologised to all customers affected by this weather diversion which was entirely beyond our control."

Elsewhere in Clare, Shannon Ferries, which operates between Killimer in Clare and Tarbert in Kerry suspended sailings as a result of the winds.

People warned against posing for 'storm selfies'

As Storm Barney hits the UK, with gusts of up to 80mph forecast for exposed coastal areas, the public are being urged not to try to take photographs of themselves along promenades and breakwaters as they are battered by waves.

Barney, the second storm powerful enough to be given a human name by the Met Office and Met Eireann, will bring gale or severe gale force westerly winds on Tuesday afternoon and evening, generating large waves around exposed coasts in south-west England and the English Channel.

While some localised spray and waves coming over sea defences is possible, the overall coastal flood risk is very low, the Environment Agency.

But the a gency and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) are warning people not to put themselves at risk to capture dramatic moments along the coastline, and to avoid driving along promenades with spray or through flood water.

Neil Davies, duty flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: "The power of Mother Nature is a fascination to us all - and taking storm selfies may seem exhilarating - but over the last few years we've had an increasing number of people putting themselves and family members at severe risk along coastal paths and promenades.

"Floods destroy so take care and be prepared. Find out if you are at risk and sign up for early flood warnings. Stay safe and act now to be better prepared for flood to reduce the impact it could have on your family, your home and your business."

David Walker, leisure safety manager at RoSPA, said: "We understand the temptation to view powerful tides and weather conditions, however, if you get caught up or swept out to sea in these events your life will be at risk very quickly and our rescue services will also be at great risk.

"Listen to the advice of the coastguard and the police about safe places to be. Floods are devastating so do not be afraid to seek medical help or support."

Last year coastal flooding led to people taking risks to capture images of the sea, while videos of people getting swept along roads by waves became internet hits, the two organisations said.

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