• By Barra Best
  • BBC News NI weather presenter

Image source, Paul Mageean

Image caption,

A large tree has fallen in Killyleagh, County Down

Police have warned about the risk of fallen trees and road debris as Storm Kathleen impacts Northern Ireland.

A yellow warning for strong winds, with the strongest gust recorded at 69mph, is in place until 22:00 BST.

It has already led to flight disruption, with all Aer Lingus services cancelled at Belfast City Airport.

For the second time this year part of the roof of Titanic Belfast has been damaged by strong winds.

The Met Office had warned of possible travel disruption, power cuts, and a risk of injuries from large waves.

Similar weather warnings have also been issued in the Republic of Ireland.

In County Down, the Comber Road in Killyleagh has been closed after a fallen tree hit an electrical cable, while a tree is also partially blocking the Old Holywood Road near Holywood.

In County Antrim, the Hillside Road outside Ballycastle has been closed because of a fallen tree.

Harbour Police have closed the road outside the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction after damage was caused to the roof of the building.

A member of staff from Titanic Belfast said they would be closing as a precautionary measure.

Video caption,

Titanic Belfast roof damaged by Storm Kathleen

It had previously been impacted by Storm Isha in January.

On Saturday, police also warned the Portaferry Road near Newtownards is impassable due to flooding and encouraged the public to avoid the area.

Ferry sailings between Larne and Cairnryan at 12:00 and 16:00 have been cancelled, P&O Ferries has said.

Confirmation that sailings will resume at 20:00 will come after a further review, it added.

Power outages

NIE Networks has said about 400 customers are without power after high winds caused “a low level of damage to the electricity network.”

“Our teams are working to repair any damage caused and restore power as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson added.

In the Republic of Ireland, 34,000 homes, farms and businesses have been affected by power outages due to Storm Kathleen.

Image caption,

A fallen tree on Hillside Road outside Ballycastle, County Antrim

ESB Networks said most of the outages are in counties Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork , with further outages expected.

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

Travellers are also advised to check providers for updates.

So far the strongest wind has been recorded at 69mph (111 km/h) at Orlock Head in County Down.

Image caption,

The colourful houses of Whitehead were sprayed by the waves on Saturday morning

As of noon on Saturday, other strong winds have been recorded at:

  • Magilligan, County Londonderry – 57mph (91 km/h)
  • Thomastown, County Fermanagh – 56mph (90 km/h)
  • Castlederg, County Tyrone – 54mph (86 km/h)
  • Aldergrove, County Antrim – 54mph (86 km/h)

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

Staff from all agencies are “making preparations to respond to any impacts”, the department added.

Belfast City Council said that due to the weather conditions, all grass pitches at Victoria Park, Cherryvale, Wedderburn and Strangford will be closed.

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 until 14:00.

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

Image source, Stephen Henderson

Image caption,

Stephen Henderson captured this photo of the waves crashing over the wall at Carnlough

A yellow warning has been issued for the rest of the Republic of Ireland between until 20:00.

Dublin Airport said it was open, but passengers should continue to check for updates.

Six flights – three inbound and three outbound flights – had been cancelled by noon.

A separate flight from Dallas to Dublin was diverted to Paris due to the weather conditions, the airport said.

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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.

Video caption,

BBC News NI explains how the storm naming system works

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