Storm Ali: Warning of dangerous 80 mph winds

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Media captionFirst autumn storm of the season hits Scotland, N Ireland and northern England.

Winds of up to 80 mph could put lives at risk and disrupt travel and power supplies across parts of the the UK as Storm Ali sweeps in.

An amber, "be prepared", weather warning is in force from 08:00 BST in Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England, and heavy rain is forecast.

Two councils in Northern Ireland have closed parks, playgrounds, cemeteries and playing fields due to the storm.

A caravan has blown off a cliff in County Galway, Republic of Ireland.

Police say they believe a woman in her 50s was in the caravan, and emergency services are at the scene.

Meanwhile, around 55,000 homes and businesses in Ireland have been left without power.

Storm Ali is the UK's first named storm of the season.

It comes after the remnants of the US-named Storm Helene - which took its name from a hurricane - hit part of Wales on Tuesday.

BBC Weather forecaster Ben Rich said there was some "potentially dangerous" weather hitting parts of the UK.

The strongest winds could be felt in central and southern Scotland and the north-east of England later.

Met Office meteorologist Dean Hall said: "Certainly we could see close to 80 mph, possibly even higher miles per hour in exposed areas in the far north of the country."

Milder yellow wind warnings were issued across Wales for Wednesday.

Belfast City Council said it had closed all its parks, pitches and playgrounds, while Derry City and Strabane District Council closed all its parks and cemeteries "until further notice".

Belfast Zoo was also closed due to the forecasts.

The M1 motorway was closed in both directions west of Belfast due to fallen cables, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

Aer Lingus has warned customers to check before travelling as it expects there to be disruption.

Image copyright Met Office
Image copyright Fermanagh Trust
Image caption Strong winds brought down trees in County Fermanagh
Image copyright Nick Edgington / Twitter
Image caption Storm Ali brought spectacular lightning over the west coast of Scotland

The amber warnings are in place from 08:00 BST to 17:00 and mean damage to buildings, disruption to road, rail, air and ferry services and possible power cuts should be expected.

Areas affected by the yellow warnings, in place between 06:00 and 22:00, are likely to experience lower speed winds of up to 60 mph but could face similar levels of danger and damage.

Meteorologist Bonnie Diamond said the outlook was for heavy rain on Thursday, with the Met Office issuing yellow warnings for flooding on roads in Wales.

She said: "Moving into Thursday we will see widespread heavy and persistent rain which looks set to change to sunshine and showers on Friday, before becoming more settled on Saturday."

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