The storm before Christmas
Published 24/12/2012 | 07:54
Motorists have been urged to drive with caution after parts of Northern Ireland were lashed by winds of more than 50 mph.
Some main roads were blocked by fallen trees yesterday after high winds in the early hours.
While all major routes were reopened yesterday, Roads Service advised motorists to take extreme care as debris may still be partially blocking some smaller roads.
Winds of more than 50mph in eastern areas of the province brought down trees and knocked off some electricity supplies.
About 50 homes in Downpatrick were left without electricity because of the winds.
NI Electricity said that the network had coped well.
Crews from the Roads Service worked throughout yesterday morning to clear blocked roads.
“High winds brought down a number of trees closing roads especially on the eastern side of the province. Belfast and County Down are particularly affected, but most of the roads have been reopened and we are on site working on the remainder,” said Cathal Brown from the Roads Service.
“Drivers should take extreme care, and drive appropriate to the conditions of high winds and rain.
Although weather forecasters said the winds had eased, those travelling home for Christmas were warned to allow extra time for their journeys.
Today rain spreading east to all areas has been forecast, with light to moderate winds.
The Met Office is not predicting snow for Christmas Day.
The weather is expected to be bright with sunshine and scattered showers with temperatures rising to a high of 7C.
On Boxing Day, the winds are expected to pick up again with some heavy rain.
The bad weather also caused severe disruption in many areas of the Republic where gale-force winds, with occasional hurricane-strength gusts, brought down trees and power lines.
At least 1,300 homes in Longford were left without power, while about 300 homes in Drogheda were affected.
ESB Networks said some customers were without electricity in parts of Ennis, Waterford, Limerick and Monaghan.
Gardai warned motorists of extremely dangerous driving conditions in many areas.
In parts of England, where heavy rain has been causing serious flooding, another band of bad weather was expected overnight.
Some 170 flood warnings were issued in England and Wales and about 30 homes were flooded in Devon.