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Picture of the week: Farmers muddle through the puddles

By Staff Reporter

A farmer moves livestock threatened by rising floodwaters at Hilltown, near Newry, on Wednesday as Storm Frank continued to wreak havoc across Northern Ireland.

At the peak of the disruption, emergency crews worked to restore power to almost 21,000 homes and businesses cut off by gale-force winds and driving rain. More than 270 roads were blocked by flooding, or fallen trees. Wednesday witnessed the worst of the weather, with gusts of nearly 80mph causing ferry crossings and flights from the province's three airports to be cancelled, as well as extensive structural damage to buildings.

Winds of 78mph were recorded at Magilligan on the Co Londonderry coast and one passenger flight from Gatwick only landed at Belfast International Airport at the fourth attempt.

The worst-hit area for power cuts was Enniskillen, where 4,000 homes were without electricity, and Coleraine, where 3,300 were affected. Hundreds more in Ballymena, Downpatrick and Omagh were also hit.

The Foyle Bridge in Londonderry was closed to high-sided vehicles, with a 30mph speed restriction applied to all traffic, and the city's Peace Bridge was shut to pedestrians. The Strangford ferry was also suspended.

It was the fourth-wettest December since records began.

The worst of Storm Frank had abated by Thursday - just in time for the Met Office to issue yellow warnings about the impending landfall of Storm Gertrude.

Rain was expected to turn to sleet and snow overnight, with accumulations of several centimetres possible over hilly areas. A further warning has been issued for tomorrow, focusing on a slow-moving front bringing heavy outbreaks of rain, with totals likely to exceed 40mm in places, especially over hills.

Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers said it was too early to gauge the cost of recent storms to the Northern Ireland economy, but they are thought to have cost the UK as much as £3bn.

Belfast Telegraph


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