Storm Barbara havoc for festive travellers

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Storm Barbara is expected to wreak havoc on countless travellers coming home to Northern Ireland for Christmas on Friday.

The Met Office says heavy rain is expected to lash the Province from dawn until the afternoon but the strong winds, gusting up to 70mph, are expected to go on until midnight.

Although Saturday will have more normal weather, a further Yellow Warning has been issued for Christmas day, Sunday, with gusts of up to 60mph.

The first Yellow warnings - meaning ‘be prepared’ - has been issued for Northern Ireland from 7am Friday to midnight.

Storm damage and disruption to power supplies and travel are expected.

A separate storm - which has not been named - is forecast to arrive on Christmas Day, with winds up to 60mph from 3am to 6pm and bands of showers from 10am to 1pm.

There is no forecast for snow.

Irish Ferries has cancelled many services both ways between Dublin and Holyhead for Friday while Stena Line, which operates from Dublin to Holyhead and Rosslare to Fishguard, warned that some of its services may also be affected.

Flights from three London airports were hit by delays on Thursday morning after fog shrouded the capital. Festive travel plans faced being thrown into chaos after Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airport all experienced a raft of hold-ups.

The UK Coastguard issued its own safety warnings ahead of the weekend.

The Met office only names the strongest weather systems, the last one having been Storm Angus on October 1.

Scotland is predicted to be the worst hit by the weather, with gusts of up to 90mph forecast in places.

The National Farmers Union urged the public not to drive unless necessary.