Northern Ireland power cut warning due to storms

Fallen tree Northern Ireland people have been warned of travel disruption due to storms on Christmas Eve

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Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) is warning of possible damage to the electricity network in NI due to severe storms on Christmas Eve.

Northern Ireland is expected face some of the stormiest weather in the UK, with gusts of up to 80mph possible.

NIE has said northern and eastern coastal areas and exposed high ground are likely to be particularly affected.

The company will be opening all of its incident centres across Northern Ireland from early on Christmas Eve.

Anyone who loses electricity supplies can contact the NIE Customer Helpline on 08457 643 643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk.

The Met Office had issued an amber warning for Northern Ireland, valid until 14:00 GMT on Christmas Eve.

However, that has now been downgraded to a yellow warning - which means to be aware of possible disruption - as the winds have not been as severe as had been expected.

Earlier, the Met Office said: "A spell of very strong winds will affect Northern Ireland through Tuesday morning.

"Gusts of 60-70mph are expected inland with 80mph gusts possible along the north coast and over high ground.

"Along with the winds there will be sleet and snow showers these mainly affecting County Londonderry and County Antrim."

Disruption

Both of Northern Ireland's main airports have said there are hopeful they will be able to cope the weather, however, ferry services have already been affected.

P&O sailings between Larne and Cairnryan were suspended on Monday evening.

Stena Line's head of communications Diane Poole said its Belfast to Cairnryan service had been affected.

"The 07:30 and 11:30 sailing on Tuesday are both cancelled," she said.

"Hopefully the 15:30 sailing will go as the winds calm down, but if passengers turn up this morning for the sailing they will be taken onboard and looked after on the vessel."

She said the company had been aware since Sunday that high winds were forecast.

"We sent a message to our passengers on Sunday saying we would like them to bring their travel plans forward and a number of them actually changed their travel plans to yesterday (Monday), so the majority of people actually travelled home yesterday so hopefully there will be very few affected today."

Driving conditions are also expected to be treacherous.

Foyle Bridge in Londonderry was closed to high vehicles on Monday night. A 30mph speed limit has been introduced for all other vehicles.

Gusts of up to 100kph (62mph) are forecast for the Republic of Ireland.

Met √Čireann has issued an orange wind warning due to a "vigorous Atlantic storm" over the country from late on Monday night.

This means the conditions have the capacity to "impact significantly" and people should be prepared for the conditions.

This warning is valid from midnight on Tuesday until 16:00 GMT on Tuesday.

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