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March goes out at 70mph: Unpredictable weather leaves a trail of mayhem

By Lesley Houston

Published 01/04/2015

A family seek shelter in Belfast
A family seek shelter in Belfast
A young man struggles against the high winds on the Co Londonderry coast yesterday
Strong winds and rain in Belfast City Centre. Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Strong winds and rain in Belfast City Centre. Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
A young woman struggles against the high winds on the Co Londonderry coast yesterday
Strong winds and rain in Belfast City Centre. Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

A man injured when a tree fell on a van in Co Armagh during severe and "unpredictable" weather is in a stable condition in hospital.

The man's work van was almost completely crushed when the tree fell on it on the Coolkill Road in Middletown as high winds swept across Northern Ireland and hail stones and snow pelted down across many areas.

Gusts of up to 70mph made driving conditions difficult amid a yellow weather warning which also cautioned of localised damage for most of the hours of daylight yesterday.

A spokesman from Craigavon Area Hospital confirmed the man was in a stable condition but was unable to reveal any further details.

Police added that his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

Another man in the vehicle was freed but is not thought to have required hospital treatment.

A third man who normally travels with the pair had taken the day off.

The incident happened shortly after 12.30pm when the road became blocked by the fallen tree.

Fire crews from Keady and Armagh attended the scene and local people are understood to have assisted with the rescue efforts.

The accident happened just days after a tree fell on a van being driven along the Keady Road outside Armagh, killing the driver.

In what was described locally as a "freak accident", 56-year-old father of two Geoffrey Robb, from Kingsway Drive in Portadown, died and a woman was injured when the minibus they were in was struck by the tree on March 26.

The Crankill Road near Ballymena in Co Antrim was also rendered impassable for a time yesterday when a tree came down on the road close to Ashgrove Nurseries at around 3pm.

The incidents occurred as motorists across Northern Ireland were advised to exercise caution.

The PSNI said "variable and unpredictable weather conditions" were being experienced.

Commenting on the incident in Middletown, Ulster Unionist councillor Mavis Eagle said the weather in the area had been "extremely windy all day".

"There was rain and sleet and snow and I suppose that probably contributed to it," she said.

"I hope he's not badly injured and I send my best wishes to him for a quick recovery."

In England, a man was killed when he was crushed by a falling tree yesterday.

What's in store

Wednesday

A bright start with sunny intervals and showers, but clouds increasing with showers merging into longer spells of rain during the afternoon, this heavy and persistent across southern parts later. Fresh westerly winds slowly easing. Maximum Temperature 7C.

Wednesday night

Outbreaks of rain becoming lighter and more patchy during the evening, and largely confined to the south and west overnight, although remaining cloudy. Light winds. Minimum Temperature 3C.

Thursday

Cloudy with rain edging back northeast across all parts, and becoming heavier at times during the afternoon, especially across the north. Winds settling into the southeast. Maximum Temperature 8C.

Outlook for Good Friday to Easter Sunday

Some overnight rain then mainly dry and bright on Friday, but breezy, then cloudy with rain at times on Saturday. Mainly dry and bright on Sunday with light winds.

Belfast Telegraph

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