Belfast Telegraph

St Jude storm: Northern Ireland escapes the worst with only minor disruption

BY CLAIRE MCNEILLY

Northern Ireland commuters escaped much of the travel chaos that affected millions in Britain amid one of the worst storms of the decade.

Two flights, operated by Aer Lingus and British Airways respectively, were cancelled between London Heathrow and George Best Belfast City Airport, with all other routes running as scheduled yesterday.

Meanwhile, there were a number of delays on flights to and from Belfast International Airport (BIA) and Luton and Stansted, with the Southend route being the most badly hit.

A BIA spokeswoman said the 8.55am flight to Southend, which was subject to a delay of more than three hours, was pushed back to 12.20pm. But she added that the delays to and from other destinations were "very limited" and confined to no more than 20 minutes.

The tempest, dubbed St Jude after the patron saint of lost causes, reached its peak at rush hour yesterday morning, with hurricane force winds battering the south of England and Wales.

A spokeswoman for Stena Line said that all sailings to and from Northern Ireland were operating as normal yesterday.

P&O said there was some disruption to services yesterday "due to a technical difficulty".

The 1.30pm and 8pm services from Larne to Cairnryan were cancelled as was the 4.30pm Cairnryan to Larne sailing.

A P&O spokeswoman added: "Later sailings may also be subject to disruptions and information will be updated."

Four people were killed in the storm which saw up to 300,000 homes suffer power cuts as hurricane speed winds of up to 100mph swept across the south west, south, south east, the Midlands and the east of England.

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