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Wind turbine collapses as storms batter Northern Ireland

By David Young

High winds and wintry weather lashed much of Northern Ireland yesterday.

In the day's most dramatic incident, a giant wind turbine collapsed on a remote Co Down hillside.

The massive structure, near the Begny Hill Road between Dromara and Ballynahinch, was photographed lying in pieces on the ground.

The images also showed a large crane active on the site amid the wreckage.

The Heath and Safety Executive is investigating the incident.

It is not the first time a giant wind turbine has collapsed in Northern Ireland.

"In 2015, a wind turbine worth £500,000 crashed to the ground at Screggagh, Co Tyrone.

The Moyallen Road in Gilford was blocked in both directions yesterday because of a fallen tree.

On the Rostrevor Road in Warrenpoint, meanwhile, motorists had to battle through a curtain of sea spray as waves crashed over the town's sea wall defences.

In Co Antrim, the Aghalee Road in Lower Ballinderry was closed in both directions because of a fallen electricity pole. Diversions were put in place.

At the Sprucefield roundabout on the A1, an overturned lorry caused travel chaos for city commuters.

Traffic was slow moving on the Portaferry Road in Newtownards due to flooding - though the road was passable with care, police said.

At Whitehead, meanwhile, the promenade was awash with seawater as high tides and strong waves surged into the street, leaving the promenade coated with thick brown seaweed.

More gales were forecast to hit the province last night.

The Met Office forecast for Northern Ireland said it was set to be windy with gales around eastern coasts, with today's weather beginning with some sunshine during the morning, then clouding over with rain spreading across Down and Antrim later in the afternoon and evening. The rain will be heavy at times and could turn to snow over higher ground, with a maximum temperature reaching eight Celsius.

Looking ahead, the weekend will begin windy and unsettled tomorrow, followed by showery outbreaks of rain, becoming heavy at times, the Met Office added.

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