Northern Ireland

Storm winds: Northern Ireland warning of severe gales

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Media captionGeoff Maskell gives a weather report for the coming days and expected storm winds

Severe gales are expected in parts of Northern Ireland on Wednesday evening and overnight.

A swathe of storm force winds moving in from the Atlantic is expected to clip parts of Northern Ireland.

Counties Londonderry, Antrim and possibly parts of Tyrone, will be battered by gusts up to 80 mph.

In the Republic, Met √Čireann has issued its highest level of warning for counties in the north west - Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway and Mayo.

The strongest winds in Northern Ireland will follow a period of heavy rain on Wednesday afternoon and will affect the rush hour.

Image caption Earlier in December, a children's playground in Portstewart was flooded by waves crashing over the sea wall

As the rain clears, winds will strengthen further and the strongest are expected in the evening and into the early hours of Thursday.

Winds as strong as 80mph can bring down trees and damage power lines.

An amber warning has been issued by the Met Office. It is the second highest warning and means 'be prepared'.

It comes into effect at 21:00 GMT on Wednesday and is valid until 0800 GMT on Thursday.

Image caption The Christmas tree at Stormont was also damaged by early December's strong winds

In the Republic of Ireland, a woman died after a tree was blown down onto the top of her car near Mullingar in County Westmeath on Wednesday.

The highest warning there - a 'status red' - had been issued. It means action should be taken ahead of the storms. A 'status orange' warning - which means to be be prepared - has been issued for counties Cavan and and Clare.

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