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Gales bring hail, rain and sun... all within the space of a single day

By Clare Weir

Never has the term ‘four seasons in one day’ seemed so apt.

Many parts of Northern Ireland were hit with bizarre summer weather yesterday — with baking sunshine and rising temperatures competing in the rapidly-changing skies with driving rain, gale force winds and hail stone.

The good news for those not enjoying the storm-force conditions was that all they had to do was wait around for half an hour for warmer seasonal conditions to re-appear, albeit briefly.

Over 9,000 people were left without electricity yesterday after gale force winds of up to 50 mph lashed parts of counties Antrim and Fermanagh, causing damage to power lines.

Fallen branches caused problems in Ballyclare, Ballymena and parts of Fermanagh with Northern Ireland Electricity engineers working through the evening to restore the supply.

The Foyle Bridge in Londonderry was closed, and ferry crossings to Scotland were cancelled.

In Co Antrim, there were road closures after a tree fell and hit a car on the Hillhall Road in Lisburn, smashing its windscreen.

Traffic was also diverted away from Castlecoole Road in Enniskillen and the Jordanstown Road in Newtownabbey because of fallen trees.

Coleraine photographer Mark Jamieson narrowly avoided being hit by a fallen tree on the Seacoast Road in Co Londonderry on Sunday lunchtime.

His dramatic pictures show how he was just feet from serious injury as the bough crashed onto the road in front of his car.

“The wind just came out of nowhere, I was driving along and noticed fallen branches and then this big tree came down about ten feet away from me and I had to slam the brakes on — it went right across the whole road in front of me,” he said.

Between the winds, snap hailstone showers and heavy rain, the skies cleared to make way for blazing sunshine which saw temperatures rise as far as 20C.

The Met Office said that gusts measuring up to 50mph had been recorded in more northern areas.

“It has been very gusty and blustery over the weekend thanks to a system coming off the Atlantic,” a spokesman said.

“Wind speeds have been recorded between 40 and 50 miles per hour off the North Coast and with rain showers added in, it has not been pleasant for Northern Ireland. The only consolation may be that Scotland is getting it worse.”

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