Belfast Telegraph

Weather havoc cut power to 6,000 Northern Ireland homes

Gale force winds left more than 6,000 homes without electricity across Northern Ireland last night.

And up to 600 homes remain without power today, according to Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE).

The worst affected areas were Enniskillen and Omagh, where up to 1,500 homes were without power.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) had 125 engineers dealing with over 200 faults.

Sara McClintock, NIE communications manager, said: "Network damage was widespread throughout Northern Ireland last night although we saw a distinct rise in faults in the Fermanagh and Tyrone areas around tea time.

"Severe gusts also seemed to affect the Lagan Valley as there were a number of large faults around the Dunmurry and Lisburn areas."

The Met Office had a severe weather warning in place until the early hours of this morning with gusts of up to 70mph forecast in coastal areas.

The gales and heavy rain moved from the western counties to the eastern coast late last night.

Drivers faced horrendous conditions across the province with particularly bad weather reported in coastal areas. Waves up to 10 feet high battered motorists on the Portaferry Road between Greyabbey and Kircubbin, making driving conditions treacherous.

Police were called to a road traffic collision on Nixons Corner in Londonderry caused by a fallen tree and three people had to be rescued.

Police advised motorists across the province to proceed with caution and only drive if absolutely necessary.

A large number of trees fell on roads in Omagh, Enniskillen, Cookstown and Dungannon.

The main Coalisland to Dungannon Road was blocked at Gilmores Cross last night.

Police also received reports of fallen trees on the Newcastle Road, Drumaness and the Glasswater Road, Crossgar.

The Foyle Bridge was closed to tall vehicles for a period yesterday afternoon and a speed limit of 30mph was in place all day.

The A6 Glenshane Road was flooded at Cross but the road remained passable. The A40 Letterkenny Road was flooded at a number of locations outside Derry but remained passable.

The main Belfast to Bangor road was also closed between the Ballymoney Road and Whinney Hill for several hours last night due to a fallen telegraph pole.

Stena Line crossings between Belfast and Stranraer were cancelled because of the severe Irish Sea conditions.

NIE said the majority of faults occurred between 5pm and 9pm and there was a peak of 6,000 customers off at any one time.

Local incident centres reopened at 7am today to restore power to affected customers.

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