Householders in rain-battered parts of Northern Ireland have been left counting the cost of damage caused by flash flooding as forecasters warned of further downpours.
East Belfast was one of the areas worst affected by relentless rain yesterday, with localised flooding also reported in Bangor and Newtownards in Co Down.
Many of the areas badly hit have already suffered serious flooding in recent years.
Sandbags and plastic flood sheet defenders have been issued to householders whose homes were caught up in the rising waters, while police urged motorists to take extra care on the roads.
The Sydenham, Belmont and lower Ravenhill Road areas of Belfast were particularly badly hit.
The Fire and Rescue Service responded to several call outs and water was pumped out of a number of homes.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Kirk Deadman, an east Belfast homeowner, said the heavy rainfall had formed “a moat” around his property.
“We have blocked up the doors with sandbags and concrete, but the water keeps coming in at a constant rate,” he said.
“We’re having to use a brush to push it back out again. There’s a good 10 inches (or maybe 15 in some places) of flood water like a moat around the house already.
“This happens every time there is heavy rain, so it’s a big problem.”
Mr Deadman, a 34-year-old plumber, said it was particularly tough for his partner, Marlene Wilson (27), who is six months pregnant, and their daughter Kara Jane (9).
“It’s hard for us to get in and out of the house; we’re like prisoners.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland said he had visited several flood-stricken areas, including Cooneen Way in Cregagh, east Belfast and Marok in Castlereagh.
“A substantial proportion of people who have previously been affected by flooding continue to live in fear of a grey cloud and they are losing faith that the statutory agencies are prepared to address their problems,” he said.
Mr Copeland also described Carrington Street at Ravenhill as being “just like a river” and he said Belfast Community Housing Association had put up flood barriers to deal with the emergency.
Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long raised the previous flooding suffered by many areas.
“Over the course of the last two to three years I have been in repeated contact with the Department for Regional Development, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of the Environment in relation to extensive flooding throughout east Belfast in the wake of heavy rainfall,” she said.
“Despite this, in many of the areas, little practical work has been undertaken to address the underlying causes of the problem or to control the extent of new |development in those neighbourhoods in the meantime.”
The police called on motorists to take extra care driving in Ards, Bangor and east Belfast following reports of surface water and flooding on a number of roads.
These included the Ballysallagh Road in Bangor, the Upper Knockbreda Road and Rosetta Road in east Belfast and the Crossgar Road in Ballynahinch. Localised flooding was also reported in several areas around Belfast, with the Belmont Road and Sydenham by-pass particularly affected.
Fire appliances were sent to different locations, including Richardson Street in the lower Ravenhill area of Belfast.
Assistant Group Commander Martin Cassidy said a multi-agency approach was being taken by NIFRS, the Rivers Agency and Northern Ireland Water.
“We have been called out to a number of homes where we have been assisting the removal of flood water,” he said.
“The bulk of the flooding appears to have subsided, but we are keeping a close eye on the situation and have teams in place to deal with whatever happens.”
MeteoGroup forecaster Gareth Harvey said there was more heavy rain on the forecast for today.
“On Tuesday it will be coolish and blustery winds with sunny spells. The worst of the showers will be during the middle of the day,” he said.