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Weather alert: Flood warning as winds batter Northern Ireland

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Waves crash into the harbour wall at Portrush

Waves crash into the harbour wall at Portrush

Sheep try to graze after a blizzard in the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry yesterday

Sheep try to graze after a blizzard in the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry yesterday

A picture of Glenshane taken and tweeted by Martin McGuinness

A picture of Glenshane taken and tweeted by Martin McGuinness

Waves crash into the harbour wall at Portrush

Gusts of up to 70mph have battered Northern Ireland after a wintry blast covered parts of the province in snow.

Forecasters have warned of flooding in coastal areas as the strong winds coincide with high spring tides.

Yesterday parts of Northern Ireland woke up to heavy snow, mainly in higher areas such as the Glens of Antrim, Sperrins and higher routes around Strabane.

Storm specialist forecaster Estofex issued a level 2 warning for western Ireland, saying a deep low would pose a risk of severe wind gusts, bringing thunderstorms and even tornadoes over land.

A Met Office spokesman warned of hazardous driving conditions and the risk of travel disruption, along with the risk of some localised coastal flooding.

He said west to southwest winds would reach severe gale force at times with widespread gusts of 50-60mph around the north coast, possibly reaching 70mph in more exposed coastal locations. Counties Antrim and Londonderry are expected to bear the brunt of the strong winds, although the Met Office's weather warning suggests they should be calmer by noon.

"These winds will also lead to large waves and coupled with high spring tides could lead to overtopping and localised flooding in some coastal locations," he said.

Meanwhile, drivers have been warned to beware of ice this morning after wintry overnight showers, with 1-3cm of snow possible above 300m.

Belfast Telegraph