Storm Rachel: Emergency crews on stand by on both sides of the border

The scene at Melmore Gardens in Creggan earlier today. Picture taken by Hugh Gallagher.
The scene at Melmore Gardens in Creggan earlier today. Picture taken by Hugh Gallagher.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) have issued a warning that the electricity network could be damaged as gusts of up to 70mph are predicted as Storm Rachel begins to kick in.

The thaw currently underway in Derry as the snowfall of the last 48 hours begins to dissipate could also cause localised flooding in places as the artic snap is replaced with high winds and heavy rain.

However, the Met Office has said the strongest winds are expected to be along the east coast, especially County Down.

A Red Status alert has also been issued by Met Eireann with particular focus on the costal and mountain areas of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry.

Met Eireann say that gusts of wind between 130-150km/hr are possible in exposed areas from 9pm on Wednesday until midday on Thursday.

Meanwhile, NIE say they have initiated an escalation plan and has emergency crews, engineers and call handlers already standing by.

The help line for NIE is 03457643643 and for ESB it is 1850 372 999.