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Storm Helene arrives in Northern Ireland with 70mph winds

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Karen Gibson entertains the crowds at the 2018 Autumn Fair in Botanic Gardens, Belfast

Karen Gibson entertains the crowds at the 2018 Autumn Fair in Botanic Gardens, Belfast

Noeleen Hawkins

Noeleen Hawkins

Audrey Dery and Maurlene Pink

Audrey Dery and Maurlene Pink

Greis Raibikyte

Greis Raibikyte

Audrey Dery and Maurlene Pink

Karen Gibson entertains the crowds at the 2018 Autumn Fair in Botanic Gardens, Belfast

Northern Ireland is preparing to batten down the hatches as Storm Helene rips into the UK from today.

Formerly Hurricane Helene, the downgraded storm will bring a spell of strong winds to western parts of the UK today and tomorrow.

A yellow warning of high winds is in place for Northern Ireland from 6pm today until midday tomorrow, with the south east of the province expected to bear the brunt of the impact - with wind speeds expected to hit 55-65mph, and occasionally to reach 70-80mph.

A yellow warning has also been issued for southern Scotland and the whole west coast of England and Wales, from Penzance in Cornwall to Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway.

Met Office forecasters have warned that injuries and danger to life are a possibility.

The turbulent weather is coming off the back of one of a number of major storms currently raging in the Atlantic - another of which, Hurricane Florence, caused mass evacuations on the east coast of the United States in recent days.

Northern Ireland's road, rail, air and ferry services are likely to be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations a possibility, Met Office experts warned.

Roads and bridges may close, and fallen trees are expected, with gales and heavy rain anticipated along Northern Ireland's east coast from this evening.

Tomorrow is forecast to start off dry and bright, becoming cloudy with rain showers and strengthening winds as the day goes on.

Unsettled weather conditions are due to return on Wednesday and Thursday, the Met Office said.

The weather warning kicked in just a day after Belfast City Council held its annual Autumn Fair in the city's Botanic Gardens, where a dazzling range of acts, florists, gardeners, musicians and craftspeople entertained the crowds, marking the end of summer.

While the grown-ups enjoyed the music and displays of flowers and specially-grown vegetables, the Autumn Fair's younger visitors were spoilt for choice with a vast array of carnival games, safari train rides, workshops, mini explorers sensory play and crazy golf, amazing magic shows, captivating street performers and autumn arts and crafts to explore.

Belfast Telegraph