Winds bring down power lines and disrupt transport in North

Severe weather warning remains in force across Ulster counties until midnight

Road travel in parts of Northern Ireland has been disrupted by debris, fallen trees and flooding. Photograph: PA

Road travel in parts of Northern Ireland has been disrupted by debris, fallen trees and flooding. Photograph: PA

 

The severe weather left around 5,000 homes and businesses without power across Northern Ireland.

Ferry sailings were cancelled, roads and motorways blocked, and bridges closed. Flights were transferred for a time from Belfast City airport to Belfast International, but services by yesterday afternoon were returning to normal.

NIE, the main electricity provider, reconnected around 20,000 homes in the early hours of yesterday morning as the latest Atlantic storm passed off the coast of Donegal. This brought storm-force winds across parts of Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh and Down and gusts of up to 120km/h which caused local damage.

The Met Office had an amber warning for wind and rain in place until 7pm yesterday. The highest gusts recorded were in Co Down of 74mph (120km/h) at about 6.30am (yesterday)”.

In the village of Mayobridge, Co Down two pensioners and their son escaped when a pole carrying power lines was blown down onto their home which then caught fire. Their home was gutted

NIE spokeswoman Julia Carson said: “We were in regular contact with the Met Office and had mobilised NIE emergency crews, engineers and call handlers in preparation for any damage the severe weather may cause”.

Travel services were disrupted. The M1 in the greater Belfast area was blocked for a time due to debris blown onto the carriageway.

Clifton Street in the city was closed due to concerns about the stability of a building.

In Newry, Co Down a section of the city’s quays was closed to traffic due to the danger from falling masonry.

Trees blocked minor roads in Tandragee, Loughgall, Armagh and Keady in Co Armagh; Newry, Banbridge, and Newtownards in Co Down; in the Dungannon, Omagh and Cookstown areas of Tyrone and in parts of Fermanagh.

The Foyle Bridge in Derry was closed for a time but later reopened to all traffic but with a 50km/h (30mph) speed limit in place.

Ferry crossings were badly affected. P&O’s Larne-Cairnryan services resumed following earlier cancellations and the company was working through a backlog of traffic.

The company advised intending passengers to check in as normal but to anticipate delays.

Stena s cancelled services between Belfast and Liverpool and the ferry service from Ballycastle, Co Antrim and Rathlin Island was withdrawn.

Some flights were transferred from Belfast City airport to the larger international airport about 40km away, but services were later returning to normal.

A severe weather warning remained in place until midnight last night.