Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Co Antrim road buried by landslide after deluge

The landslide of rocks, mud and peat moves down the hill and over the Altarichard Road, which remained closed last night. The photographs were taken by farmer Dermot McAleese
The landslide of rocks, mud and peat moves down the hill and over the Altarichard Road, which remained closed last night. The photographs were taken by farmer Dermot McAleese
The landslide of rocks, mud and peat moves down the hill and over the Altarichard Road, which remained closed last night. The photographs were taken by farmer Dermot McAleese

A farmer who filmed a massive landslide as it rolled across the road in front of him has said he has never seen anything like it.

The torrential rain that swept across Northern Ireland at the weekend saturated the ground, flooding roads and causing dangerous landslides in Co Antrim.

Last night the Altarichard Road between Armoy and Cushendun remained closed due to a landslide following heavy rain.

Tonnes of rocks and mud poured across the road and into a tributary of the River Bush after up to 50mm of rain fell within a few hours.

Dermot McAleese, who captured the landslide on film, said: "It was amazing to watch. It started off quite slow, about a half-a-mile up from the road."

The pressure then built up, causing the mud, clay and peat to slide down the hill and over the road.

"We watched it for a couple of hours – my father was with me too, and he'd never seen anything like it," he said.

Roads Service said it is not yet known how long the road will be closed.

Meanwhile, tourists hoping for sunshine got the shock of their lives after another massive landslide forced them to flee their bed and breakfast.

Holidaymakers in picturesque Glenariff, Co Antrim, had to be evacuated from their B&B by firefighters when hundred of tonnes of rock and mud were dumped outside.

Owner James McHenry said: "At one stage I thought the house was going to come down – the mud and the debris was piled right up against our back door."

Damage was also caused to part of Slieveanorra mountain near Armoy in Co Antrim when land gave way, and a landslide also closed the coast road between Carnlough and Waterfoot.

The Met Office said 40.8mm of rain fell in six hours at Ballypatrick Forest Park near Ballycastle on Saturday – the highest in the UK.

However, the worst could still be yet to come, with forecasts for as much as 15mm of rainfall per hour today.

The Met Office has issued a yellow severe weather warning for all of Northern Ireland, predicting possible problems on the roads.

"As is often the case with showers, some places will escape with a dry day. However, where they do occur, they could be heavy and prolonged, bringing a risk of localised surface water flooding," it said. "The public should be aware of the risk of localised flooding and potential disruption to transport and outdoor events."

It might seem far-fetched after the weekend – but last month was the driest July in three years. According to the Armagh Observatory, it was warmer and drier than average, even though there were only a few days at the weather centre when rain didn't fall.

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