Warning of strong winds and heavy rain for Province

Heavy rain earlier in the year
Heavy rain earlier in the year

Fierce winds and heavy rain are predicted to lash the Province from the end of the week.

The Met Office said Northern Ireland will face a downpour on Friday, with strong winds as well – winds which will then grow in strength the following day.

John Mitchell, forecaster for the agency, said that from around morning rush hour on Friday there will be a number of hours of powerful rainfall, totalling up to 20mm (0.79 inches), before clearing from early afternoon.

The typical average for the whole month is between 100mm and 200mm (3.9–7.9 inches).

It is believed the east of the Province will be especially hard-hit, with powerful winds also expected.

“It’s a relatively short period of heavy rain, and it could well lead to some localised flooding in Northern Ireland, just with everything being as saturated as it is at the moment,” said Mr Mitchell.

And although Saturday is not anticipated to be as wet, the winds look set to increase further – with Mr Mitchell adding that they could reach gusts of up to 70mph across exposed parts of the Province as they blow in from the south.

The Met Office said it is due to a deep area of low pressure spreading eastwards on Friday bringing heavy rain and strong to gale force winds.

Elsewhere in the UK, Friday could bring as much as 40mm (1.6 inches) on some high ground in the south west of England and south Wales.

The agency has severe weather warnings in place on Friday for a number of regions, including Northern Ireland.

“Everywhere will get heavy rain on Friday, pretty much the whole of the UK will get some form of rain shower,” a spokeswoman said.

The Met Office website sounded a cautious note, saying: “The public should be aware of possible disruption, primarily due to further flooding – chiefly in areas already, or recently, affected,”

The warning comes as the MeteoGroup weather company forecaster said England and Wales could be on course this month for twice the average rainfall for January.

An Environment Agency (EA) spokeswoman said: “A low pressure system combining with high tides could cause some coastal flooding around England on Friday and over the weekend.

“Strong winds and large waves will increase the risk of spray and wave over-topping in coastal areas during this period and some disruption from coastal flooding is possible.”

She urged people to check the EA website for updates.