Beware blocked drains and damaged trees in Storm Callum

Travellers tomorrow are at risk of having their morning journeys impeded by water on the roads as highly-blustery conditions grip the Province.

That was the message from the Met Office, which said that Storm Callum looked set to hit Northern Ireland at about 3am on Friday morning, with strong winds buffeting the country – and particularly coastal regions – for much of the day.

Met Office image of Storm Callum, 11-10-18

Met Office image of Storm Callum, 11-10-18

Sarah Kent, forecaster with the weather organisation, said one possible consequence of the high winds is that trees are stripped of their leaves en masse.

Due to a lack of frost and relatively light winds so far this autumn, many trees have kept their leaves, she told the News Letter.

“One of the biggest concerns is trees are still in leaf,” she said.

“Winds will be taking a lot of branches and leaves off trees in one fell swoop, which then blocks culverts and drains.”

This in turn could leave to standing water on roads.

Overnight tonight, she said if anyone had objects like plastic furniture in their gardens, now is a good time to move it.

She told the paper that things look set to unfold as follows.

Inland areas will see gusts of up to 50mph to 60mph from about 3am to 8am on Friday. However, gusts of these speeds will affect coastal areas for much of the day.

Rain which was set to fall last night looked set to continue in the form of a couple of showers this morning.

Saturday looks set to be something of a “wash-out” Province-wide she said, with rain falling throughout the day.

Sunday meanwhile is expected to be generally bright and breezy.

The Met Office said Storm Callum (which was actually named by its Irish counterpart, Met Eireann) is the third storm of the 2018/19 season.

A yellow Met Office warning for wind, likely to spell “delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport” is in place until midnight on Friday.

The NI Health and Safety Executive warned that damaged trees “may be unstable with the risk of crushing for people involved in cutting and removing them”, and advised caution for anyone working at height.

If you encounter downed power lines, call NIE on 03457 643643.