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Storm Kathleen: Strong winds to bring disruption across NI as agencies make preparations

A woman runs from a crashing wave during Storm Eunice on February 18, 2022 in Portstewart, Northern Ireland.
A woman runs from a crashing wave during Storm Eunice in February 2022 in Portstewart. [Getty Images]

Weather warnings have been issued ahead of potentially damaging and disruptive winds from Storm Kathleen this weekend.

The system is likely to bring widespread gusts of between 50 to 60mph across Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Some exposed and coastal areas could see gusts reaching higher speeds of up to 70mph.

A yellow Met Office warning for strong winds has been issued for Northern Ireland from 08:00 BST until 22:00 on Saturday night.

The Met Office has warned of possible travel disruption, power cuts, and a risk of injuries from large waves around the coast.

Stormont departments have advised people not to visit forests, country parks or nature reserves in the affected areas and to be careful when driving in case of high winds or debris.

Vehicle access to forests, including for caravanning and camping, is suspended for the duration of the weather warning.

The Department for Infrastructure said on Friday that "multi-agency partners including the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), NIE, the Department for Infrastructure and other emergency response and public sector organisations have met to prepare for Storm Kathleen".

Staff from all agencies are monitoring the situation and "making preparations to respond to any impacts", the department said.

It warned the weather conditions could lead to debris on roads, fallen trees and spray or large waves on exposed and vulnerable coastal areas.

The strongest winds are forecast to reach the south coast of Ireland early on Saturday morning before moving north.

As a result, a Status Orange weather warning has also been issued for Cork, Kerry, and Waterford from 07:00 until 14:00.

A second Status Orange warning lasts from 09:00 until 18:00 for Galway and Mayo.

A yellow warning has been issued for the rest of the country between 05:00 and 20:00.

Weather
[BBC]

Met Éireann is warning of some coastal flooding, travel disruption, and fallen trees.

Sunday will also be a windy day with widespread gusts of more than 65km/h (40mph).

Storm Kathleen is the 11th named storm of the season which runs from 1 September 2023 until 31 August 2024.

It is also the first time storms have reached the letter K in the alphabet since Storm Katie in late March 2016.

Storm Jocelyn brought major disruption to the road network across Northern Ireland in January.

Met Éireann named Storm Kathleen after computer programming pioneer Kathleen 'Kay' McNulty from County Donegal and crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale from County Kildare.