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Storm Kathleen brings trees down and power outages



By Barra Best,BBC News NI weather presenter

Paul Mageean Tree down in Killyleagh, County DownPaul Mageean

A large tree has fallen in Killyleagh, County Down

Fallen trees and power outages have caused disruption across Northern Ireland during Storm Kathleen.

A yellow warning for strong winds ended at 22:00 BST, with the strongest gusts recorded reaching 69mph in County Down.

Some flights – including all Aer Lingus services at Belfast City Airport – and ferry sailings were cancelled.

For the second time this year, part of the roof of Titanic Belfast was 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 were also issued in the Republic of Ireland.

Titanic Belfast closed

A spokesperson said Titanic Belfast visitor centre was shut on Saturday afternoon and would remain closed on Sunday as a “precautionary measure”.

“Due to the ongoing inclement weather, access to the roof to assess the damage is limited and remedial works can not yet begin to take place,” they said.

Titanic Belfast roof damaged by Storm Kathleen

Pre-booked customers are to be refunded, with the attraction expected to re-open on Monday.

It had previously been impacted by Storm Isha in January.

Fallen trees, downed power lines and some flooding also led to the closure of a number of roads including:

  • Comber Road, Killyleagh
  • Old Holywood Road, Holywood
  • Saintfield Road, Carryduff
  • Hillside Road, Ballycastle
  • Drones Road, Dunloy
  • Portaferry Road, Newtownards
Anne Kelly  A fallen tree on Hillside RoadAnne Kelly

A fallen tree on Hillside Road outside Ballycastle, County Antrim

Stena Line cancelled four sailings between Belfast and Cairnryan on Saturday due to the adverse weather.

A 19:30 sailing from Cairnryan to Belfast has also been delayed.

Stena Line services between Dublin and Holyhead were also cancelled.

P&O said its ferry sailings between Larne and Cairnryan at 12:00, 16:00 and 20:00 were off.

A British Airways flight from London Heathrow was diverted to Belfast International on Saturday morning.

Passenger Jonathan Pankhurst said the flight made two attempts to land in its original Belfast City destination before landing in Aldergrove instead.

“It was a rollercoaster ride to be honest, I think I was at Blackpool Pleasure Beach,” he told BBC News NI.

Jonathan Pankhurst

Jonathan Pankhurst’s flight from London’s Heathrow was diverted to Belfast International on Saturday

Power outages

NIE Networks said about 750 customers have been left 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, 12,000 homes, farms and businesses were left without electricity by Storm Kathleen.

ESB Networks said the largest outages were in counties Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Laois and Wicklow.

A spokesman said crews aim to restore supply power to the “vast majority” on Saturday evening, however some would be without power overnight.

“We apologise to all homes, farms and businesses impacted for the inconvenience caused,” he said.

Pacemaker WhiteheadPacemaker

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

The Stormont Estate was also closed as a precaution while vehicle access to forests, including for caravanning and camping, was also suspended for the duration of the weather warning.

Travellers have been advised to check providers for updates.

The strongest wind was recorded at 69mph (111 km/h) at Orlock Head in County Down.

As of noon on Saturday, other strong winds were 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”.


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

A yellow warning for wind in parts of the Republic of Ireland was lifted at 20:00 local time.

But a fresh yellow warning has been issued for Donegal, Mayo and west Galway until 16:00 local time on Sunday.

Waterford and Wexford are also impacted by strong winds for several hours overnight.

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

Brian Lawless/PA Media A man takes a photo of the waves at Salthill in County GalwayBrian Lawless/PA Media

Large waves caused by Storm Kathleen battered the coast in Salthill, County Galway

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.

BBC News NI explains how the storm naming system works

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