Northern Ireland

Strong winds lead to disruption across NI

Work men clearing trees from Strand Road
Image caption A number of trees have been brought down by the high winds

Parts of Northern Ireland have experienced disruption due to strong winds, with gales reaching 80mph along the north coast.

The Met Office have issued an amber weather warning for Thursday.

While winds are strongest in the north, the rest of the country has experienced gusts of 60 to 70mph.

There are reports of fallen trees causing traffic disruption in a number of areas, including Londonderry, Limavady, Dungiven and Belfast.

P&O and Stenaline have said that there may be disruption to ferry sailings and have warned passengers to be prepared for delays or cancellations.

Stenaline has said all sailings from Belfast to Cairnryan have been cancelled and those from Larne and Cairnryan suspended until at least 20:00 GMT, when the situation will be reaccessed.

The 22:30 GMT sailing to Birkenhead (Liverpool) has an estimated two-hour delay, although check-in will be closed at 22:00 GMT.

For further information on P&O services passengers can call 0871 66 44 777, while Stena's Ferrycheck service number is 08705 755 755.

The ferry crossing between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island has also been cancelled.

Image caption Pedestrians have been advised not to use Derry's peace bridge

Police have closed the Foyle bridge in Londonderry, while pedestrians have been advised not to use the peace bridge in the city.

Meanwhile, Malin Head in County Donegal has recorded gusts of 89mph on Thursday morning, while winds got up to 80mph at the Giant's Causeway.

BBC NI's weather forecaster Barra Best said that conditions would be worst on Thursday afternoon.

"We expect some very strong winds, especially towards the north coast, so we could see some disruption and possibly some structural damage as a result," he said.

The winds are due to ease on Thursday evening.

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