A woman has died after Storm Ali began to make itself felt with winds of up to 60mph across Ireland and parts of Scotland and England, as the first named storm of the season arrived in time for the morning rush-hour.
Irish police confirmed the woman died after a caravan was blown off a cliff in the west of Ireland. A Garda statement said: “Gardaí at Clifden, Co Galway, are investigating an incident which occurred at Claddaghduff, Co Galway, this morning.
“At approximately 7.45am a report was received that a caravan had blown off the cliff at the above location. A search was carried out at the scene on the beach and after a short time the body of a female in her 50s was recovered.”
A total of 55,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the south-west of Ireland, have been left without power due to the weather, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) said.
Forecasters said travel disruption, power cuts and flying debris were possible, with severe gales and heavy rain forecast for a large part of the UK. There is potential for damage to buildings, fallen trees, road closures and, in coastal areas, large waves.
As Ali rolled in on Wednesday, the Met Office updated its amber weather warning of strong winds across the UK.
The amber warning covers Northern Ireland, northern parts of England and southern Scotland until 6pm, while a further yellow warning of winds of up to 60mph covers the rest of Scotland, Yorkshire and northern parts of Wales.
Mark Wilson, a Met Office meteorologist, said: Storm Ali is already bringing some pretty heavy rain across Northern Ireland and south-west Scotland and is just starting to creep into north-west England.
“In terms of wind strength, the speeds are coming up, with gusts of just over 60mph in the west of Ireland. At around eight, nine and 10 o’clock winds will really start ramping up and go further still.”
The worst of Ali’s weather is forecast to be in the north, although areas outside the official weather warnings are unlikely to escape wet and windy conditions.
While southern parts of England and Wales could reach continued unseasonable highs of up to 24C (75F), Wilson said it would feel cooler due to the strong winds.
The unsettled weather is due to last for the rest of the week, but an improvement is expected early next week.
Storm Ali names list for 2018-19 announced by the Met Office and Met Éireann, which have run the Name Our Storms scheme for four years.