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Storm Abigail to unleash strong gusts and lashing rain across Northern Ireland

By Linda Stewart

The UK's first officially named storm - Abigail - is expected to batter Northern Ireland today.

After an unusually mild November, today Abigail is set to bring strong winds, rain and travel delays throughout the day.

A strong Atlantic jetstream is expected to bring a very mobile and unsettled weather pattern throughout the rest of November.

Forecasters at AccuWeather are predicting the heaviest rainfall and strongest winds will sweep from Northern Ireland through Scotland, with gusts as high as 70mph in the worst affected areas.

They are warning of travel delays, including air and rail travel, along with isolated power outages and tree damage.

It is a landmark for UK forecasting, representing the first time that a severe weather system has been given a name under the Met Office's 'Name Our Storms' project.

As part of the pilot project, storms throughout autumn and winter 2015/16 will be named based on a list from A-Z chosen by members of the public.

As Abigail departs, strong west to north-west winds will continue to rake the UK and Ireland, AccuWeather said. Colder air will also spread over the region lowering temperatures to normal levels for this time of year.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Kate in the Atlantic Ocean is expected to interact with a larger storm system, reaching Ireland on Sunday or Monday.

The Weather Channel says it will feel quite a bit colder today, with a lot of ice in the showers and quite a bit of lightning over Northern Ireland.

As the remains of Hurricane Kate pass to the north-west of the UK this weekend, a lot of moisture will be brought northwards, making it very wet tomorrow afternoon and night.

"Next week will often be windy and wet with a series of Atlantic depressions heading our way. Prepare for more local flooding and high winds. Temperatures will drop back to nearer the seasonal norm," a forecaster said.

"After a brief colder, or near normal day, on Friday, with showers for the north and west, the weekend will again become very mild as a warm front moves northeast. There will be a lot of rain late Saturday across the west on the warm front so expect high rivers and a risk of local flooding again."

The Met Office says today will be chilly with frequent showers with hail and thunder and some temporary snow over the higher ground. Strong westerly winds will continue, gale force along the north coast, with maximum temperatures of 9°C.

Tomorrow will start dry, bright and chilly, but with heavy rain spreading from the west. It will be cloudy with prolonged spells of heavy rain and windy through Sunday, with further rain later on Monday.

The Met Office announced its Name Our Storms project in September, and thousands of suggestions were emailed in including winners such as Nigel, Gertrude, Rhonda, Phil and Steve.

It is hoped that naming storms will help to raise awareness of severe weather and ensure greater safety of the public.

Belfast Telegraph


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