Belfast Telegraph

Worst of hurricane's tail avoided as Britain is battered by gales

By Joanne Fleming

It was wet and windy, but Northern Ireland escaped the full lash of Hurricane Bertha's tail – although other parts of the UK were not so lucky.

The persistent rain which saw flooding in Newry and delays to train and ferry services yesterday isn't expected to be repeated – although a handful of heavy showers are still predicted today.

A Met Office yellow warning for Northern Ireland was lifted last night as the remnants of the Caribbean hurricane made their way across Scotland.

Fire crews protected homes along O'Neill Avenue in Newry yesterday, with at least one home sustaining flood damage and others being protected by sandbags. Newry Station Commander Alastair McConville said two appliances spent the morning pumping water away from the houses.

"There was a large quantity of water at the front of two premises," he said. "One had water in it on the ground level.

"Because of the persistent rain resources are on standby."

Translink's Bangor line services were back to normal by yesterday afternoon after delays caused by earlier flooding on the line.

The Rathlin Island and Ballycastle ferry service was also cancelled for a period yesterday because of the foul weather.

At Katesbridge in Co Down, 33mm of rain was recorded over 12 hours yesterday, compared to the 79mm recorded for the whole of August so far.

Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster with Meteogroup, said that while the conditions were unpleasant they weren't unheard of for August in Northern Ireland.

"It was a day of particularly high rainfall connected to the remnants of ex-Hurricane Bertha," he said. "There will continue to be some heavy showers on Monday but they won't be as persistent."

Hurricane Bertha hit Caribbean islands on Monday before dissipating over the central Atlantic.

Heavy rain and high winds hit England and Wales yesterday. Homes were flooded, music festivals cancelled and sporting contests had to be re-routed as nearly a month's worth of rain was dumped over parts of Britain in a few hours. A number of events at the Transplant Games in Bolton, which had 35 competitors from Northern Ireland taking part, were also washed out.

The number of Met Office flood warnings in force steadily climbed over the course of the day, with 41 in place shortly before 4.30pm, and spanning all of Britain.

However, fears of widespread flooding and evacuations did not materialise.

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