Storm Caroline to bring gales, snow and ice to Ireland

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Image copyright Douglas Cecil
Image caption Winds whip the sea at Rathlin Island's harbour

The first week of December will end on a stormy and chilly note in Northern Ireland as Storm Caroline hits.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for wind, snow and ice.

A yellow wind warning is in force for parts of Londonderry and Antrim on Thursday. Gusts of up to 70mph are predicted and they may cause damage.

Yellow warnings for snow and ice across NI, valid from 00.00 GMT on Friday to 18:00 GMT on Saturday, could be upgraded to amber later.

As Storm Caroline moves away, Arctic air will plunge southwards on Thursday night.

Travel disruption possible

Showers, which will become more widespread and frequent on Thursday, will turn wintry in the afternoon, initially on high ground, but snow will drop to low levels during the night.

Image copyright Gail Simpson
Image caption Waves crash over the sea wall at Portrush's West Strand

A covering of snow is possible anywhere by Friday morning with 2-5cms across northern and western counties and up to 10cms possible on high ground in the north west.

There may be disruption to travel and transport due to both snow and ice.

Over the next couple of days 10-20 cm of snow may accumulate over hills particularly in the Sperrins and the Antrim Glens.

Image copyright BBC Weather
Image caption Storm Caroline will pass over the north west of Ireland on Thursday

According to the Met Office warning, "icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight" on Friday.

In the Republic of Ireland, Met √Čireann [Irish National Meteorological Service] has also issued a status orange warning - the second highest level of warning - for wind, snow and ice on Thursday and Friday across Ireland.