Motorist killed as tree falls on van in strong winds
One man was killed and two school girls were injured when storm force winds swept across the country.
Police confirmed a motorist was killed when a tree fell on his van on the Hillsborough Road in Lisburn at 11.30am this morning.
Elsewhere two schoolgirls were injured after they were blown into the path of a bus by strong winds.
The teenagers were walking in Belfast city centre when the accident happened.
Storm force gales battered parts of th country throughout much of the day, tearing down trees as well as electricity power lines and poles.
However Met Eireann has downgraded its weather warning to a yellow, forecasting winds of mean speeds 50 to 60km/h, with gusts to between 90 and 100 km, for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Louth and Meath.
Showers will also become less frequent, but temperatures will drop to between -2 to +2 degrees C, leading to widespread frost and icy stretches.
Motorists are warned to take extra care on the roads, while air passengers are warned to contact their air lines.
Dublin Airport said 38 cancelled flights were cancelled throughout the day, while another 20 were diverted because of strong winds.
Crews from ESB Networks have worked throughout the day, in difficult conditions, to restore power to 17,000 customers affected by Storm Rachel.
The majority were in the north west and west of the country, along with smaller numbers affected in the Midlands, South East and other smaller faults.
Meanwhlie, police in Belfast said the schoolgirls were treated at the scene by paramedics but, their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: "At this time, it is believed that two teenage girls were blown by the wind and collided with a passing bus in the High Street area of Belfast at approximately 11.15am.
"The two girls have been taken to hospital for treatment but it is not believed that their injuries are serious."
One of the girls is believed to have suffered a minor head injury while the other hurt her wrist when they hit the side of the bus.
It is understood the driver may not have been aware of the collision.
(additional reporting PA)