In pictures: North coast feels brunt of 80mph gales

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An amber weather warning for parts of Northern Ireland has been issued by the Met office, with severe gales anticipated.

Today forecasters say winds are expected to reach speeds of 80 mph (130 km/h) along northern parts of Co Antrim and Londonderry.

Giant waves crash

Giant waves crash

Large waves will affect the north coast and the Met Office has urged people to be prepared for “dangerous conditions”.

Met Office spokesman Dan Williams said: “So far today Orlock Head in Co Down had wind speeds of 61mph.

“Today there will be fairly strong winds in Northern Ireland. There were winds of 40mph at Aldergrove and 60mph at Ballypatrick Forest in the last hour (from 10.30am to 11.30am),”

Mr Williams said the weather bomb “is not coming to the UK, but we are feeling its influence from afar”.

“That is the winds we are feeling at the moment. This will continue in the same vein for the next 24 hours, or maybe longer. They will start to ease on Thursday.”

He said temperatures tonight will go down to “low single figures in Belfast” adding it will “be even colder on the north coast”.

He said the weather bomb happened on Monday “thousands of miles away from the UK and the low pressure system we have now, because it underwent that process earlier on, people are still calling it a weather bomb”.

“It is not terribly different to anything else we would normally see for this time of year.”

He said the weather will stay “unsettled on Thursday and Friday”.

“In terms of winds they will not be a strong as we have seen with gusts of 20mph to 30mph and may be more on the north coast.”

Meanwhile Northern Ireland Electricity have initiated an escalation plan and has emergency crews, engineers and call handlers on stand-by.

In a statement they said: “We would like to remind customers that if they do lose electricity supplies they should contact the NIE Customer Helpline on 03457 643 643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk. Customers can also follow us on Twitter @NIElectricity for regular updates.”

Stena Line sailings have also been disrupted after during a scheduled docking procedure at Loch Ryan Port (Cairnryan) at 6am on Tuesday (December 9) Stena Line’s Superfast VII vessel “made contact with the fenders which has resulted in the ship remaining moored at the port while a full inspection is carried out”.

A Stenaline spokeswoman said: “There were no injuries to customers or staff and all car and freight traffic disembarked safely from the ship as normal.”

She added that as a result of the ongoing inspection of the ship and port facility, “today’s Stena Line sailings 7.30am, 11.30am from Belfast and Cairnryan have been cancelled with passengers being transferred to alternative sailings”.

She said the incident was not weather-related.