Belfast Telegraph

Hurricane Bertha heading for Northern Ireland

By Adrian Rutherford

Brace yourself - the tail-end of Hurricane Bertha is heading this way.

Forecasters have warned there is a strong chance the remnants of the powerful storm, which battered the Caribbean, will hit the south of England tomorrow.

And it could affect Northern Ireland too, with an area of low pressure associated with the storm likely to bring heavy rain over the weekend.

Up to an inch of rain could fall in some parts of the region tomorrow, forecasters said.

Yesterday parts of Northern Ireland saw heavy showers, with torrential downpours saturating Belfast by mid-afternoon.

That weather is unconnected to Bertha, which has been travelling across the Atlantic after hitting the Caribbean islands with gusts of more than 90mph, leaving thousands of homes in the area without power.

However, there is a 60% to 70% chance the storm could hit southern Britain tomorrow.

And it could have a knock-on effect on Northern Ireland. Those who can should make the best of today as it looks to get progressively worse as the weekend wears on with heavy rain to come for most of us and even the possibility of localised flooding.

Billy Payne, a forecaster with the MeteoGroup weather agency, said we should brace ourselves for a very wet end to the weekend.

"Saturday is looking like a day of sunny spells and scattered showers, a few of which may be thundery," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The showers are likely to continue overnight and may give way to larger spells of rain, associated with a deep area of low pressure tracking across southern Britain that's associated with the remnants of Hurricane Bertha.

"An area of low pressure will move out into the North Sea on Sunday, bringing further outbreaks of heavy rain across Northern Ireland."

Some areas here could see up to an inch of rain, he said.

"We do get wet days in August but this could be a particularly nasty instance of low pressure," Mr Payne added.

"A lot of rain can fall this month but some people will consider the forecast rather unseasonal."

The Met Office said the transition of Bertha from a tropical to an extra-tropical storm was a "particularly hard one to forecast" but it was increasingly expected to affect the UK tomorrow.

Chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: "Rain and strong winds may well bring disruption, especially across southern parts of the UK, with the potential for more than 50mm of rain and coastal gusts of over 60mph."

Bertha is the second hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. It passed through the Caribbean earlier this week, leaving thousands of homes without power.

Parts of Puerto Rico saw 25mm of rainfall, with some mountainous regions receiving as much as 254mm.

Belfast Telegraph


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