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Storm Ali: Woman dies as caravan is blown off cliff

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RTE

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The woman is understood to be a tourist who had been staying at a campsite

A woman has died after a caravan was blown off a cliff in the Republic of Ireland, as parts of the British Isles have been battered by Storm Ali.

The woman in her 50s died after the caravan was swept away in Claddaghduff, County Galway, at about 07:45 BST.

More than 80,000 homes are without power in Ireland and Northern Ireland and strong gusts are disrupting travel.

An amber warning, meaning “be prepared”, is in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England.

The weather warning – which means lives could be put at risk – applies until 17:00 BST.

It means damage to buildings, disruption to road, rail, air and ferry services and power cuts should be expected.

The Met Office said winds of 91mph have been recorded in Killowen, County Down.

However, the strongest winds could be felt in central and southern Scotland and north-east England later.

BBC Weather presenter Matt Taylor said the storm could have a greater impact because of the time of year it has hit the UK.

He said most trees were still in full leaf and were “acting like sails”, making it more likely they could be pulled over and cause travel problems.

Irish President Michael D Higgins expressed his condolences to the family of the woman who died in County Galway.

It is understood she was a tourist and had been staying at a campsite in Claddaghduff.

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Barbara Muldoon

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Trees have been felled in County Galway, Ireland

Meanwhile, about 32,000 homes across Northern Ireland are without power, while two councils have closed some public spaces due to the storm.

Belfast City Council said it had closed all its parks, pitches and playgrounds, while Derry City and Strabane District Council closed all its parks and cemeteries “until further notice”.

Belfast Zoo was also closed due to the weather.

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Fermanagh Trust

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The storm also caused problems in County Fermanagh

In Scotland, a freight train was derailed on the Highland Main Line after striking fallen branches.

The incident happened at about 01:40 near Culloden in Inverness during a spell of high winds ahead of Storm Ali’s forecasted bad weather.

The Forth Road Bridge was closed to all vehicles and pedestrians, Traffic Scotland said.

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Nick Edgington / Twitter

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Storm Ali brought spectacular lightning over the west coast of Scotland

A yellow warning – less severe than amber warnings – is in force across the whole of Scotland, as well as parts of North Wales and northern England, until 22:00.

Those areas are likely to experience gusts of up to 60 mph but could face similar levels of danger and damage.

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Met Office

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The amber warning stretches across most of Northern Ireland and Scotland

Meteorologist Bonnie Diamond said the outlook was for heavy rain on Thursday, with the Met Office issuing yellow warnings for flooding on roads in Wales.

She said: “Moving into Thursday we will see widespread heavy and persistent rain which looks set to change to sunshine and showers on Friday, before becoming more settled on Saturday.”

Storm Ali is the UK’s first named storm of the season.

It comes after the remnants of the US-named Storm Helene – which took its name from a hurricane – hit part of Wales on Tuesday.

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Media captionFirst autumn storm of the season hits Scotland, N Ireland and northern England.

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