A tourist in her 50s died today after her caravan was blown off a cliff as high winds from Storm Ali battered the British Isles with wind gusts of up to 91mph.
The woman was sleeping in the caravan in Claddaghduff, County Galway, in western Ireland this morning when the horrifying incident unfolded – while Britons were issued with ‘danger to life’ warnings posed by flying debris.
A total of 140,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the South West of Ireland, have been left without power due to the bad weather bringing down trees onto cables – while 32,000 homes lost power in Northern Ireland.
Forecasters in Ireland have issued an orange wind warning, while in Britain there was an amber warning for the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland due to remain in place until 6pm for affected areas.
Storm Ali has already brought Northern Ireland its strongest September winds on record – with Killowen, a small village in County Down, recording a 91mph gust just before 11am.
In Claddaghduff, the woman was said to have been on holiday from Switzerland and had arrived just hours earlier. Emergency services attended the scene at about 7.45am, and a body was found after a search on Acton Beach.
A woman in her 50s died today after her caravan was blown off a cliff at Claddaghduff in County Galway during high winds
The scene in Claddaghduff today after the Swiss tourist in her 50s was killed after her caravan was blown into the sea
The destroyed caravan sits in the sea after falling onto Acton Beach next to the campsite in Claddaghduff today
The woman was sleeping in the caravan in Claddaghduff in western Ireland today when the horrifying incident unfolded
Storm Ali brings high winds and rain to Edinburgh’s city centre today as tourists try to go sightseeing
Storm Ali Damage caused damage at the National Ploughing Championships 2018 in Screggan, Tullamore, County Offaly
Storm Ali batters the town of Saltcoats in Ayrshire today as high winds and rain are expected throughout Scotland
A tree down in the Old Crumlin road area of Belfast today, as more than 30,000 homes across Northern Ireland lost power
Storm Ali rolled in with a stunning display of lightning last night, photographed over Oban in the western Highlands
Mary Sweeney, the publican of Sweeney’s bar in Claddaghduff, beside the campsite, told MailOnline: ‘We’re hearing the unfortunate woman was from Switzerland and she’d just arrived at the campsite yesterday afternoon.
‘I don’t think she was in the pub here last night because the weather here was ferocious and you wouldn’t go out in it. It got even worse between 5am and 7am this morning and I believe that’s when the accident happened.
‘We’re right on the edge of the Atlantic here and the campsite is completely exposed to the full force of the elements coming off the sea. Some people are saying she was alone but others said she arrived with somebody.’
Irish President Michael D Higgins added: ‘Today’s strong winds can result in dangerous situations and I would urge everyone to heed the warnings by the authorities and take caution when travelling or when out in the open.
‘I was deeply saddened to learn that Storm Ali has already claimed one victim today in Claddaghduff, Co Galway. As President of Ireland, may I express my deepest condolences to her family.
The Met Office has issued amber and yellow warnings for today (left), although temperatures will be mild in the South (right)
‘I would also take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those, in statutory and voluntary organisations around the country, who are helping and stand ready to assist their fellow citizens, and who are working to maintain essential services around the country.’
The storms continue a rollercoaster year of weather in Britain, which has already brought the joint hottest summer on record, the hottest April day since 1949 and widespread snow disruption from February’s Beast from the East.
ESB Networks, which oversees the power supply, said approximately 140,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power this morning. Crews were out and working towards restoring power to all affected families.
It said: ‘The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. Storm Ali is currently active across the south west and west coast of the country with gale force winds and gusts of up to 120kph. The counties most impacted include Cork, Kerry and Limerick, as the storm continues to track north.’
There are around 32,000 homes without electricity in Northern Ireland. NI Electricity said it expected that number to rise throughout today as Storm Ali sweeps across the region.
Storm Ali batters the town of Saltcoats in Ayrshire, as high winds and rain are expected throughout Scotland today
A man struggles to walk through the wind as Storm Ali hits land in Saltcoats today amid a raft of weather warnings in Scotland
Cars drive through a flooded road near Whitburn as Scotland braces itself for Storm Ali with warnings across the country
Cars and lorries drive along a road in Scotland as the country braces itself for the impacts of Storm Ali today
Motorists drive around a fallen tree on Finglass Road by Glasnevin Cemetary in Dublin today
The network provider said 70mph winds had seen trees, branches and other flying debris bring down power lines and poles. The majority of faults were located in the Omagh, Dungannon and Enniskillen areas.
Ali also began to make itself felt across Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland and England with 60mph winds as the first named storm of the season arrived in time for the morning rush hour.
Travel disruption, power cuts and flying debris are possible as the storm sweeps through, with severe gales of up to 75mph and heavy rain forecast for a large part of the UK.
Passengers travelling between Perth and Inverness on the Highland Main Line were hit by major delays due to a freight train that was derailed after striking fallen branches near Culloden at about 1.40am.
Two wheels of the freight train came off the track and NetworkRail Scotland said specialist engineers and equipment will be used to re-rail the train. ScotRail told passengers to use services via Aberdeen if possible.
A member of the public struggles in the wind as Storm Ali hits land today in Saltcoats, Ayrshire
A car damaged by a fallen tree in Dublin today as Storm Ali has begun to make itself felt across the British Isles
A fallen tree in Dublin today as Storm Ali begins to have an impact on Ireland with winds of up to 90mph recorded
The beach front at Saltcoats, Ayrshire, as locals prepare for the arrival of Storm Ali the first named storm of the season
Meanwhile fast ferries across the Irish Sea were cancelled as gales battered Wales. Stormy weather also stopped a helicopter reaching a walker who complained of a hip injury near the bottom of the Idwal Slabs in Snowdonia.
The coastguard helicopter tried to reach him but the winds were too severe for a safe approach, so Ogwen Valley mountain rescuers was deployed with a stretcher. He was treated on scene and then carried back to the road.
There is also potential for damage to buildings, fallen trees, travel cancellations, road closures and large waves in coastal areas.
In Northern Ireland, the M1 motorway was closed in both directions just west of Belfast due to fallen cables, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.
Saintfield Road in Co Down was also closed at the junction of the old Ballynahinch Road due to a fallen tree.
A PSNI statement said: ‘Motorists are advised to exercise extreme caution in adverse weather conditions. Police are advising motorists to stay in their vehicles.’
As Ali rolled in this morning the Met Office updated its amber weather warning of wind, saying there is now a high likelihood of impacts across a swathe of the country.
Cars drive through a flooded road near Whitburn in Scotland today as Storm Ali bears down on the country
Tractors prepare the beach at Saltcoats in Ayrshire this morning ahead of the arrival of Storm Ali today
A person walks their dog on the seafront at Saltcoats in Ayrshire today in front of the choppy waters before Storm Ali
Gale-force gusts began to be recorded on the Galway coast as heavy rain moved in, although the worst of the weather was not expected to be seen until later this morning.
Storm threatens Poldark filming in Cornish village
Choppy seas have thrown the filming of Aidan Turner’s Poldark scenes into doubt.
A source inside the production said Turner was due to film scenes on a boat just off Charlestown harbour in Cornwall around 10.30am today – but the weather affected this.
There was filming on the pier all morning with what appeared to be Jack Farthing, who plays George Warleggan.
Crews have battled wind and intermittent bright sunshine as they capture characters walking along the structure.
But the choppy seas have meant the production might have to be adapted and other scenes shot instead.
Crew members have been seen going down to the shoreline to look at the beach and waves.
Crowds of onlookers lined the paths around the village as winds picked up, as crews were looking at alternative scenes to shoot while waiting for the seas to calm down.
Local coffee shops were kept extremely busy by the show’s workers looking to keep warm.
The amber warning covers Northern Ireland, northern parts of England and southern Scotland until 6pm, while a further yellow warning of winds up to 60mph covers the rest of Scotland, Yorkshire and northern parts of Wales.
Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson 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 a gusts of just over 60mph in the west of Ireland. Around eight, nine and ten 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 75F (24C), it will feel cooler due to the strong winds, Mr Wilson said.
The unsettled weather is due to last right through the week, but an improvement is expected early next week as drier weather is set to take hold.
Ali is first on the storm names list for 2018-19 announced by the Met Office and Met Eireann, which has run the Name Our Storms scheme for four years.
The season’s names have been compiled from a list of submissions by the public, choosing some of the most popular names and also selecting those which reflect the nations, culture and diversity of the UK and Ireland.