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Storm Gertrude hits Northern Ireland: Disruption on roads and trains as 85mph winds leave 17,000 without power

By Claire Cromie

Published 29/01/2016

Killyleagh Road, Downpatrick, was closed due to a fallen tree.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Killyleagh Road, Downpatrick, was closed due to a fallen tree. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Killyleagh Road, Downpatrick, was closed due to a fallen tree. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
A fallen tree blocks Cherry Tree Walk in east Belfast after strong winds overnight which seen power cuts and disruption across Northern Ireland. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Gusts of 85mph have been recorded in Northern Ireland as Storm Gertrude causes widespread disruption.

Around 17,500 properties were left without power after high winds battered the province throughout the night. Power has been restored to most, with those still cut off in the north-east.

Severe gales brought trees down on top of power lines and broke electricity poles.

Trains have been delayed and roads across the province are closed - scroll down for a full list.

Londonderry's Foyle Bridge was closed because of a fallen tree but has since re-opened with a 30mph speed limit in place.

The Met Office has issued an amber ''be prepared'' warning for high winds in Northern Ireland, Scotland and north west and north east England.

A rare red Met Office alert is in place for Orkney and Shetland with dangerous conditions expected throughout Friday.

The highest gusts so far have been recorded at Orlock Head on the Co Down coast, according to BBC weather presenter Cecilia Daly.

Snow, ice and flooding are also forecast in some areas as the extreme weather continues to batter the UK and Ireland.

A succession of storms since December has seen widespread flooding and major disruption to travel, with the latest misery expected to continue through to the weekend.

Last night, Stena Line's 10.30pm sailing to Liverpool was delayed by 60 minutes due to poor weather on the Irish sea. Flights at both Northern Ireland's major airports were not affected.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks is working to restore power to the homes still cut off and has opened its main Incident Centre in Craigavon, as well as local escalation bases. 

"The worst affected areas remain across Counties Tyrone, Derry/Londonderry and Antrim, and there are also some smaller faults in exposed rural and coastal locations in Counties Down and Antrim.

"We would like to remind customers that if they do lose electricity, they should report the fault online or call the NIE Networks customer helpline on 03457 643 643," a spokesman added.

The Met Office said to expect heavy rain, followed by bright spells and blustery showers.

It warned that driving conditions were expected to be difficult, with possible disruption to travel, and predicted a bitterly cold Saturday with sleet or snow showers and gales. However, Sunday will be mainly dry with lighter winds, but it will rain later in the day.

Road surface temperatures are expected to fall below freezing overnight into Saturday morning, leading to a risk of icy patches.

A Met Office spokesman said: "The heaviest rain is expected on Friday morning, with the largest rainfall totals likely over west and southwest-facing hills.

"The rain will be accompanied by south-westerly gales which could become severe. There will be some drier spells during the warning period. Please be aware of the risk of localised flooding and potential impacts on travel.

A tree has brought down a power line and damaged cars in Plumbridge, Tyrone
A tree has brought down a power line and damaged cars in Plumbridge, Tyrone

"Another area of low pressure is expected to move quickly east across the Atlantic, bringing spells of heavy rain to Northern Ireland during Friday, particularly in western parts of the country.

"Within the warning area, 10-20mm of rain is likely to fall quite widely, with up to 40mm over high ground."

Road closures:

Antrim

Bregagh Road in Armoy closed at the Dark Hedges after three trees were brought down.

Beanstown Road, Lisburn, is closed due to a fallen tree.

Mount Pleasant Avenue, Jordanstown - road blocked by fallen tree.

Belsize Road, Lisburn - one lane blocked by fallen tree.

Kennelbridge Road, Ballymena is closed.

Hillmount Road, Cullybackey, is closed.

Oldtown Road, Kells, is closed.

Armagh

Charlestown Road, Craigavon has been closed due to a fallen tree.

Artabrackagh Road, Portadown has been closed due to a fallen tree.

Kennedy Road, Killylea, Armagh has been closed due to a fallen tree.

Ferryhill Road, Cloughoge, near Newry is closed due to flooding.

The Legacorry Road, Richhill, is closed between the Stonebridge roundabout and Castle Drive following a fatal crash

Down

Ardglass Road, Downpatrick has been closed due to a fallen tree.

Killyleagh Road, Downpatrick, has been closed due to a fallen tree.

Greenan Road, Warrenpoint, closed due to flooding.

Mound Road, Warrenpoint, closed due to flooding.

Londonderry

Part of the Mullagh Road, Maghera, blocked after a tree fell on a car.

Part of the Ballyquin Road, Limavady, blocked because of a fallen tree.

Letterkenny Road, Derry, closed due to fallen tree.

Dungiven Road, Derry, closed due to fallen tree.

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