Alert level raised ahead of NI storm

Published Monday, 23 December 2013
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Storm-force winds of 80mph are set to blast Northern Ireland, parts of which could also be hit by wintry snow showers, on Christmas Eve - with the warning raised to the second-highest amber level.

Counties Londonderry and Antrim will be worst affected by the sleet and snow showers on Tuesday, but the whole region will be bearing the brunt of the gales.

John Wylie, from the Met Office, had already told UTV's own weather man Frank Mitchell that an upgrade from an earlier yellow alert was likely.

Stena Line is already warning that ferry services could be affected between Belfast and Cairnryan and further disruption to travel could be possible.

But it's not all doom and gloom over the festive period.

"Apart from a few wintry showers, Christmas Day itself will be a little bit of a welcome weather window - a calmer day," John Wylie said.

"Even Boxing Day, the bulk of it probably not too bad."

Admittedly, the respite doesn't look like it will last too long though.

"I'm afraid we have to do it all again on Friday, with another storm coming in off the Atlantic," John Wylie added.

It comes after Monday's miserable start, with heavy rain affecting many parts of Northern Ireland.

That rain ... It would bate the face of ye, as my granny used to say.

Frank Mitchell, on U105

Some rain is expected to continue overnight, before turning to sleet or even snow - particularly over higher ground.

Temperatures will still hover above freezing on Tuesday, but the wind-chill factor will make it feel much colder - as low as minus 5C at times.

The amber alert is set to be reduced to a lesser yellow level warning during the afternoon, before conditions do turn calmer on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

But Friday will see the heavy rain return, although no alerts are in place at this stage.

As well as disruption to travel, Tuesday's storm could also affect power supplies.

Homes across parts of Northern Ireland have previously been left without electricity for a time during other storms in recent weeks.

Northern Ireland Electricity said it has plans in place over the Christmas period.

A statement said: "Following the severe weather forecast from the Met Office for winds of up to 70mph expected on Christmas Eve, NIE has warned of possible damage to the electricity network, especially in northern and eastern coastal areas and exposed high ground.

"NIE will be opening all of its local incident centres across Northern Ireland from early on Christmas Eve. Emergency crews, engineers and call handlers have been mobilised.

"We would like to remind the public to stay away from any fallen electricity lines and if they do lose electricity supplies they should contact the NIE Customer Helpline on 08457 643 643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk."

Check out some of the best storm images from the last few weeks in our gallery or add your own!


Helplines

  • The NIE Customer Helpline can be reached in the event of an outage on 08457 643 643.
  • Stena Line passengers are advised to use the Ferrycheck service on 08705 755 755.
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Comments Comments
5 Comments
john in downpatrick wrote (114 days ago):
Spare a thought for the homeless out on the street.
kieran D in Newtownabbey wrote (116 days ago):
Poor Richard Hass will be stranded in la la land.
Cookstown in Cookstown wrote (116 days ago):
Stay in the pub
Glenn in Bangor wrote (117 days ago):
very windy where I am in Bangor. Think it might have been the sprouts tho.
Adrian in Coleraine wrote (117 days ago):
Getting my kite ready !
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