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Storm Ciara batters Northern Ireland with downpours and winds of 60mph


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The beginning of Storm Ciara hits Belfast as winds are expected to reach 80mph bringing heavy rain on Sunday. Picture Colm O'Reilly

The beginning of Storm Ciara hits Belfast as winds are expected to reach 80mph bringing heavy rain on Sunday. Picture Colm O'Reilly

The beginning of Storm Ciara hits Belfast as winds are expected to reach 80mph bringing heavy rain on Sunday. Picture Colm O'Reilly

Storm Ciara is beginning to batter Northern Ireland after the Met Office issued several weather warnings for wind, rain and snow.

The extreme weather conditions are expected to lead to cancellations in air, ferry and train services, damage to buildings and possible power cuts, as well as large coastal waves and difficult driving conditions in heavy rain.

A yellow warning for wind came into effect in Northern Ireland from noon today with inland gusts of 50 to 60mph. It is expected that gusts could reach 70mph in exposed coastal areas.

The yellow rain warning came into effect from 3pm as 20 to 40ml of rain is expected to fall across the region.

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WESTERN EUROPE -- 08 Feb 2020 -- Here comes Ciara....This  composite NASA satellite image shows the extreme low pressure front bringing Storm Ciara to the whole of the British Isles today.

WESTERN EUROPE -- 08 Feb 2020 -- Here comes Ciara....This composite NASA satellite image shows the extreme low pressure front bringing Storm Ciara to the whole of the British Isles today.

Atlas Photo Archive/NASA

WESTERN EUROPE -- 08 Feb 2020 -- Here comes Ciara....This composite NASA satellite image shows the extreme low pressure front bringing Storm Ciara to the whole of the British Isles today.

Both of these warnings will continue until 3pm on Sunday, but Nicola Maxey from the Met Office warned the public to keep an eye on the weather warnings as they may be increased from yellow to amber.

"There's the possibility of surface water on roads, flooding, branches may come down from trees and there could be debris on roads and the coasts with the large waves," she said.

Storm Ciara will not fully hit Northern Ireland until tomorrow with a yellow wind warning from midnight tonight into Sunday with similar gust speeds as today.

Monday will see another yellow warning for wind as well as snow.

That warning is valid for 24 hours from Sunday midnight right through to midnight on Monday.

"We're looking at the potential for snow showers over higher ground," continued Ms Maxey.

"There could be one to three centimetres falling above 150 metres but there's there potential for five to 10cm over 300m."

Temperatures were predicted to have fallen below freezing last night and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) warned road users to exercise caution.

The department's roads and rivers teams checked and cleared road gullies and drainage grills and DfI staff will be on standby across the weekend to respond to any incidents.

Monitoring of water levels and tides has been ongoing and will continue until the weather warnings have ended.

Around the world, there have been heavy snows across the US, Germany has seen extensive flooding, storms have battered the eastern Mediterranean... and Argentine Antarctica had its hottest day on record with temperatures of 18.3C on Thursday.

Belfast Telegraph