Storm Barra brings strong winds, heavy rain and snow to NI

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Storm Barra brings strong winds, heavy rain and snow to NI

Storm Barra has brought strong winds, heavy rain and snow to Northern Ireland.

Some flights were cancelled, driving conditions are difficult and there have been power cuts and flooding.

A yellow warning for wind was in effect until 18:00 GMT in NI, while a red warning remains in place for the south-west of the Republic of Ireland.

That prompted schools to be closed in 12 counties, while nearly 38,000 homes and businesses remain without power.

Northern Ireland Electricity said less than 1,000 of its customers were without power on Tuesday evening, as the Met Office downgraded its previous yellow warning.

Extra NI Electricity staff were brought in to deal with the repair effort and field calls from concerned customers.

Yellow warnings for rain, wind and snow are in place across much of Great Britain, including in Scotland where the storm threatens disruption to areas still recovering from Storm Arwen.

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While sleet and snow fell over the west of Northern Ireland, the strongest recorded gust was 122km/h (76mph) at Orlock, County Down.

On the north coast 70mph gusts were recorded at Magilligan, County Londonderry.

In the Republic of Ireland, counties Cork and Kerry were under red warnings until 21:00 GMT due to a combination of coastal flooding, high tides and storm surges, Met Éireann said.

A gust of 113 km/h (70mph) was recorded at 06:00 on Sherkin Island off the coast of Cork and, in Cork city, the River Lee spilled over onto the city's quays.

The country's next warning level, status orange, was in effect for a time across counties Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Wexford, Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and east Meath.

Met Éireann has also issued an orange-level warning for wind in Dublin from between 01:00 to 07:00 on Wednesday.

Ireland's Department of Education has advised schools in counties under red or orange warnings not to open on Wednesday.

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Shoppers in Belfast city centre attempt to shield from the wind and rain

In Northern Ireland, the yellow alert for wind warns of a risk of spray and/or large waves in coastal areas.

Flights from airports in both Northern Ireland and the Republic have been affected and customers are advised to check with the airline for further information.

Some train services have also been affected with Translink updating passengers on the status of those as developments occur.

In Belfast, the Christmas Market in the grounds of City Hall was closed on Tuesday, as was Victoria Park in east Belfast and the National Trust's Mount Stewart estate on the shores of Strangford Lough.

A wall collapsed at Ballywalter Harbour in County Down, while scaffolding collapsed onto a car in Londonderry.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said the emergency payment scheme for people whose homes have been flooded has been activated.

Householders who have suffered severe inconvenience as a result of flooding can claim £1,000 to ensure their homes are made habitable as soon as possible.

Image caption,
The conditions have caused damage to Ballywalter Harbour

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has appealed for people to stay well back from the water's edge due to the risk of large waves, and dial 999 for the coastguard in the event of an emergency.

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Ronan Galvin, who owns a café on the promenade in Salthill, County Galway, said he had used sandbags to protect his business.

"Our big concern would be overlapping from the seawater," he told Irish broadcaster RTE. "That's what poses our biggest risk."

Cancellations and closures

All schools in counties covered by an orange or red warning were shut on Tuesday, after advice issued by the Irish Department of Education.

The Irish Farmers' Association urged its members to take every precaution to safeguard themselves and livestock during the storm.

Image caption,
The Killyreagh Road in Tamlaght, County Fermanagh, was blocked by a fallen tree

An Garda Síochána (Irish police) advised people to avoid all unnecessary travel where red and orange warnings were in place.

The second named storm this season, Storm Barra comes just 10 days after Storm Arwen struck on 26 November, causing disruption and three fatalities across the UK.

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