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Weather bomb: Two people swept into sea at Portstewart as storm batters north coast

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Fire fighters working to secure a house close to the cliff on Strand Road in Portstewart

Fire fighters working to secure a house close to the cliff on Strand Road in Portstewart

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

National Trust members clearing damage of the beach at Portstewart Strand

National Trust members clearing damage of the beach at Portstewart Strand

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Onlookers record the weather  in Portstewart  with heavy winds hitting parts  across the North Coast in Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Onlookers record the weather in Portstewart with heavy winds hitting parts across the North Coast in Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Fire fighters working to secure a house close to the cliff on Strand Road in Portstewart. Pic Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Fire fighters working to secure a house close to the cliff on Strand Road in Portstewart. Pic Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Rocks that struck windows and cars on the main street close to Portstewart harbour

Rocks that struck windows and cars on the main street close to Portstewart harbour

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Mum Stephanie with children  Fionnan, Alicia, Lara Hodge walking home from school in the rain close to Portstewart harbour. Pic Kevin Scott

Mum Stephanie with children Fionnan, Alicia, Lara Hodge walking home from school in the rain close to Portstewart harbour. Pic Kevin Scott

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

A car on the peer of Portstewart surrounded by water

A car on the peer of Portstewart surrounded by water

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Flooding at the play park in Portstewart

Flooding at the play park in Portstewart

A photographer snaps a giant wave at Portrush

A photographer snaps a giant wave at Portrush

Christopher McCaughan in Ballycastle Harbour  with his dog biscuit

Christopher McCaughan in Ballycastle Harbour with his dog biscuit

KEVIN SCOTT / BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Damage caused to Harry's Shack

Damage caused to Harry's Shack

Inside the cafe at the beach along the promenade in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Inside the cafe at the beach along the promenade in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Scene of destruction by the sea at the Strand beach in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Scene of destruction by the sea at the Strand beach in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Weather bomb floods the promenade in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Weather bomb floods the promenade in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Weather bomb floods the promenade cafe in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Weather bomb floods the promenade cafe in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

The Play park in Portstewart  is flooded after heavy winds hitting parts  across the North Coast in Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The Play park in Portstewart is flooded after heavy winds hitting parts across the North Coast in Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Weather bomb floods the promenade cafe in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Weather bomb floods the promenade cafe in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

The Play park in Portstewart  is flooded after heavy winds hitting parts  across the North Coast in Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The Play park in Portstewart is flooded after heavy winds hitting parts across the North Coast in Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Damage caused to Harry's Shack  in Portstewart  which  flooded after heavy winds hitting parts  across the North Coast in Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Damage caused to Harry's Shack in Portstewart which flooded after heavy winds hitting parts across the North Coast in Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A rubber duckie turned up on Portstewart Strand after a tidal surge. Pic Twitter/@PStrandNT

A rubber duckie turned up on Portstewart Strand after a tidal surge. Pic Twitter/@PStrandNT

High seas in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

High seas in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

Portstewart Strand suffers damage in the storm. Pic Twitter/@PStrandNT

Portstewart Strand suffers damage in the storm. Pic Twitter/@PStrandNT

The playpark is submerged at Portstewart. Pic Portstewart Prom

The playpark is submerged at Portstewart. Pic Portstewart Prom

High seas in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

High seas in Portstewart. Pic Margaret McLaughlin

A dog named Ted runs along the beach on December 10, 2014 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. High winds and large waves hit the North West Coast of the UK and Ireland today.  (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

A dog named Ted runs along the beach on December 10, 2014 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. High winds and large waves hit the North West Coast of the UK and Ireland today. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Portstewart play park flooded. Pic Twitter/@Ilovenorthcoast

Portstewart play park flooded. Pic Twitter/@Ilovenorthcoast

The tide floods the road into Benone Beach. Pic Alan Robinson

The tide floods the road into Benone Beach. Pic Alan Robinson

Big waves at Portstewart. Pic Derek Toms

Big waves at Portstewart. Pic Derek Toms

A car drives along Seaview road as waves crash over on December 9, 2014 in Saltcoats ,Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for the next forty eight hours as high winds start to build ahead of an Atlantic storm due tomorrow.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

A car drives along Seaview road as waves crash over on December 9, 2014 in Saltcoats ,Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for the next forty eight hours as high winds start to build ahead of an Atlantic storm due tomorrow. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Getty Images

A car drives along Seaview road as waves crash over the promenade on December 9, 2014 in Saltcoats ,Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for the next forty eight hours as high winds start to build ahead of an Atlantic storm due tomorrow.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

A car drives along Seaview road as waves crash over the promenade on December 9, 2014 in Saltcoats ,Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for the next forty eight hours as high winds start to build ahead of an Atlantic storm due tomorrow. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Drivers  as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

Drivers as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

New year pursuit: get out and run

New year pursuit: get out and run

Walking the dog as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

Walking the dog as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

Pacemaker Press 8/12/2014
Bin Men   as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 8/12/2014 Bin Men as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker  8/12/2014

Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

Runners as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

Runners as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

A walker  as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

A walker as Snow Fall on the Divis Road on the Outskirts of Belfast , With Snow falling across parts of Northern Ireland Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker 8/12/2014

A young sheep finds a bit of shelter in among the rushes. Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie.
Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.  December 8 2014

A young sheep finds a bit of shelter in among the rushes. Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie. Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye. December 8 2014

Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie.
Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye December 8, 2014

Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie. Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye December 8, 2014

Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie.
Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye. December 8, 2014

Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie. Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye. December 8, 2014

Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie.
Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye. December 8 2014

Livestock in the Tildarg road area of Kells as the snow starts to lie. Pic. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye. December 8 2014

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Fire fighters working to secure a house close to the cliff on Strand Road in Portstewart

Two people were swept into the sea at Portstewart on Wednesday as a so-called "weather bomb" battered the north coast.

The jogger and dog walker were on the beach when the "unusually high" waves swept them out - and they luckily managed to scramble to safety.

"Just witnessed a second person get washed away and only just escape to safety," said the National Trust's Portstewart Strand Twitter feed.

"We can not stress this enough. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THE BEACH."

Severe gales of up to 81mph have been recorded as the rapid cyclogenesis - a deep low pressure system known colloquially as a weather bomb - moves slowly eastwards between Scotland and Iceland.

Waves 45 ft high were recorded off the Donegal coast at midday.

Beaches and seafronts at Benone, Portstewart, Ballintoy and Ballycastle all flooded and safety warnings have been issued to keep members of the public away.

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The playpark at Portstewart was completely submerged under water on Wednesday morning.

The Met Office has an amber warning of wind in place for the north coast, and a yellow warning across the whole province, until Thursday morning.

All ferries between Belfast and Cairnryan were cancelled after a ferry collided with part of the south west Scotland terminal on Tuesday.

Sailings between the Dumfries and Galloway port and Belfast were suspended to allow the ship to be examined, the BBC reported.

Stena Line said there were no injuries and all passengers and crew disembarked as normal.

School bus hits tree

In the Republic of Ireland, 11 schoolchildren escaped injury when their minibus struck a falling tree on Wednesday. The quick-thinking actions of the bus driver meant that serious injury was avoided in the incident in Letterkenny.

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Gardai say he saw the tree falling and managed to brake, meaning only the front end of the bus took the impact.

There were eleven primary school children, aged from 4 to 11, on the minibus when the incident happened in the Lisnennan area of the Donegal town.

More than 180 homes in the Portnoo area of west Donegal were meanwhile without power.

Snow expected

Gusts of 70mph have been recorded on the Forth and Tay road bridges in Scotland.

"Waves will be unusually high, bringing the risk of localised flooding of roads and causeways, particularly in western and northern Scotland and northern coasts of Northern Ireland," said the Met Office's Chief Forecaster.

He also warned of snow on the hills: "Frequent wintry showers will also bring an additional hazard, mainly over higher ground.  The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel and perhaps also power supplies."

All main roads were salted early on Wednesday morning but drivers have been warned to exercise caution, particularly on untreated routes.

In County Tyrone, the B50 Gillgooley Road was closed just outside Omagh on the Drumquin side of Gillygooley Primary School following a traffic collision.

Emergency crews

Northern Ireland Electricity warned of possible damage to the electricity network, especially in exposed northern locations.

Emergency crews, engineers and call handlers are on stand-by.

John Wylie, from the Met Office in Northern Ireland, said: "We'll be looking at gusts of 50-60mph for most of us, but it's the north coast that we're most concerned about and our amber warning is valid for northern coastal fringes, including Rathlin.

"We could see gusts of around 70mph and that's the sort of wind speeds that can topple a few trees and bring some interruptions to power supplies on a localised basis.

"We normally get three, four or five occasions between about December and March where we would be expecting those sort of wind speeds across the bulk of Northern Ireland. It's probably just one of those days you need to hold the steering wheel that little bit tighter and keep a wary eye out for any weather obstacles.

Mr Wylie added: "There will be some snow, yes, a wintry element to the showers as they blow through but most of the snow will be on high ground, we could see two to five centimetres on ground above 600 or 700 feet, but that's pretty normal for this time of year."

Temperatures are actually not much colder than usual for this time of year, according to Meteogroup forecaster George Goodfellow - but the brisk winds will bring a distinctive chill to the air.

"We are looking at highs of up to 12 degrees in some western areas today, and even 10 degrees in the South East (of England) tomorrow, but the strong winds will make it feel fairly nasty," he said.

Temperatures will be around 4 to 5 degrees celsius in Belfast on Wednesday and Thursday.

A second storm is due to roll in from the Atlantic Ocean on Friday.

In response to whether we'll see a white a Christmas, Mr Wylie said: "It's still two weeks away, it's up in the air.

"At the moment the weather could do almost anything in two weeks' time. There's alternating spells of mild and cold weather so it's just a question of what air mass is in place on the big day itself. Too soon to say."

  • If you lose your electricity supply contact the NIE Customer Helpline on 03457 643 643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk.

Scotland Western Isles without power

A gust of 81mph was recorded in Tiree at 10am while South Uist was hit by a 79mph gust at 9am and Islay by a 77mph wind at 5am, according to the Met Office.

Winds of around 50mph have been recorded in north-west England and North Wales, where yellow "be aware" warnings are in place.

The whole of the Western Isles was left without power after an outage just before 7am.

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution said its engineers were working to restore supplies to the 17,500 customers affected.

Elsewhere, a rescue operation was launched to help a fishing vessel which issued a Mayday call at around 5.30am after it was hit by a wave that smashed windows on the bridge.

The Shetland Coastguard rescue helicopter and Stromness Lifeboat were sent to the scene off Orkney.

The lifeboat is escorting the British-registered vessel, which has a Spanish crew, to Westray in Orkney. None of the 16 crew are thought to be injured.

In Aberdeenshire around 20 cars were freed after they were stuck in icy conditions at Cairn O'Mount, while the Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles and the Tay Bridge was only open to cars.

Fifteen flood warnings and 12 flood alerts have been issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Many ferry services operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, which operates in the west of Scotland, have been cancelled or disrupted while the Argyll Ferries service between Gourock and Dunoon has been suspended.

There were also disruptions and cancellations on NorthLink Ferries services between Orkney, Shetland and the mainland, while P&O said its Larne and Cairnryan sailings were operating with delays of up to at least two hours, with disruption expected throughout the day.

Several train services will be cancelled as a safety precaution, Network Rail and train operator ScotRail announced.

Western Isles Council said all its schools and nurseries will be closed as police have advised the public not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.

All depots, libraries, museums and sports facilities in the Western Isles are also shut.

Several schools and nurseries in the Highland Council area have been closed.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland: "It is important to keep this in context.

"It's not a surprise that Scotland faces severe winter weather, we face it to a greater or lesser extent every year. This morning we're wrestling with a number of different issues."

He added: "I think it's important to remember that this is weather which is characteristic of winter weather in Scotland and what's important is that we take the necessary steps to prepare for it.

"That involves the public authorities preparing for it but also members of the public being aware of the circumstances as well."

Councils south of the border insisted they are prepared for the plunge in temperatures, with gritters "out in force" and depots filled with about 1.3 million tonnes of salt.


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