UK

Major tourist attraction closes and planes struggle to land as Storm Kathleen brings 70mph winds

Storm Kathleen has brought disruption to the UK and Ireland, with tens of thousands of people left without power, dozens of flights cancelled and a major tourist attraction forced to close.

Gusts of up to 70mph have hit the island of Ireland and parts of Britain – with the conditions leaving planes struggling to land at Heathrow Airport.

A British Airways flight was forced to abort a landing at Heathrow, with its wheels kissing the runway before immediately taking back to the skies.

About 70 flights departing and arriving at UK airports had been cancelled before midday, including all Aer Lingus services at Belfast City Airport.

About 34,000 homes in Ireland were left without power, with the outages concentrated in Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork.

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A man takes photos of the waves at Blackrock Diving Board, Salthill, Co Galway. Pic: PA
Image:
A man takes photos of the waves at Blackrock Diving Board, Salthill, Co Galway. Pic: PA

Titanic Belfast was forced to close on Saturday due to damage to its roof caused by Storm Kathleen.

It said it had “taken the precautionary measure to close its building to the public for the remainder of today and tomorrow”.

Customers who have booked visits will be refunded and the attraction will reopen on Monday, it added.

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Storm Kathleen hits Whitehead, County Antrim. Pic: Bill Guiller
Image:
Storm Kathleen hits Whitehead, County Antrim. Pic: Bill Guiller

A yellow weather warning for wind is in effect and covers Cornwall, much of Wales, parts of Lancashire and Cumbria, and up into central Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Some parts of the UK have seen warm weather, with Saturday provisionally becoming the hottest day of the year so far with 20.9C recorded, the Met Office said.

The highest temperature was reached in Santon Downham, Suffolk, on Saturday afternoon.

Pic: Met Office
Image:
Pic: Met Office

As of Saturday afternoon, the Environment Agency (EA) issued 14 flood warnings – where flooding is “expected” – and 118 flood alerts in England.

The EA also issued 45 red cautions for strong streams on the River Thames, advising users of all boats not to navigate.

National Resources Wales issued five flood alerts across the country.

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Pic: Environment Agency
Image:
Pic: Environment Agency


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Storm Kathleen has brought winds of between 50mph and 60mph quite widely, while some Irish Sea coastal regions have seen gusts of up to 70mph.

The Met Office warned there was a risk of “injuries and danger to life” from large waves and beach material being thrown on to sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.

Met Office meteorologist Ellie Glaisyer said Storm Kathleen was “the reason we are seeing the warmer temperatures, because the location of the storm – situated out towards the west of the UK – is bringing a southerly wind across the UK”.

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