| 5.9°C Belfast

Northern Ireland bracing itself for ice and snow after a battering from Storm Ciara


Close

Views over Portstewart during Storm Ciara. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Views over Portstewart during Storm Ciara. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

┬ęPhilip Magowan / PressEye

Waves crash into a sea wall next to the Portaferry Road, Co Down

Waves crash into a sea wall next to the Portaferry Road, Co Down

Serious flooding in Omagh

Serious flooding in Omagh

Photopress Belfast

Serious flooding in Omagh

Serious flooding in Omagh

Photopress Belfast

Views over Portstewart during Storm Ciara. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Northern Ireland is bracing itself for freezing temperatures set to follow in the wake of Storm Ciara, after parts of the province took a battering yesterday.

The third locally-named storm of the winter season brought a deluge of wind and rain, with 50.8mm of rainfall recorded during a 24-hour period at Lough Fea in the Sperrins. The average for February is 83.5mm.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said emergency funding will be made available for councils.

While the centre of Storm Ciara has moved away from the UK, a new yellow warning for wind and snow covering all of Northern Ireland and Scotland is in effect for today and tomorrow.

There is also a yellow warning for snow and ice on Wednesday, with snow showers and icy surfaces leading to potential travel problems.

Storm Ciara brought damaging winds across Ireland, with 72mph gusts being recorded at Malin Head in Donegal yesterday. Castlederg also saw winds of 60mph.

Close

Serious flooding in Omagh

Serious flooding in Omagh

Photopress Belfast

Serious flooding in Omagh

Northern Ireland Electricity said fewer than 200 of its customers were without power yesterday, while the Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they had dealt with around a dozen calls from people.

A spokesperson for NIE said: "We saw some power cuts in the Newry and Bangor areas, but the majority of those were restored reasonably quickly."

A number of roads were closed yesterday as a result of flooding or fallen trees and other storm debris.

There was also severe disruption to flights into Belfast, with significant delays and cancellations at both the George Best Belfast City and International Airports.

Belfast Telegraph business editor Margaret Canning was due to fly back yesterday evening to Belfast International Airport from Gatwick with easyJet, before her 6.45pm flight was cancelled at the last minute.

She said a lack of clarity on the company's app had led to passenger confusion and left her in the dark as to when she will get home.

"There are just huge groups of people standing around everywhere. I think people are looking quite concerned and wondering where they are going to sleep tonight," she said.

Close

Serious flooding in Omagh

Serious flooding in Omagh

Photopress Belfast

Serious flooding in Omagh

There were numerous reports of flooding throughout Omagh with several rivers in the area swelling and bursting their banks as a result of the torrential rainfall.

A public park and ride car park at Crevenagh Road was left under water, with motorists racing to collect their cars as the water levels rose.

West Tyrone MP Orfhlaith Begley was on the ground throughout yesterday and said the area had felt the brunt of Storm Ciara.

"We started to receive calls yesterday evening that particular areas of West Tyrone were affected, particularly Fintona, Carrickmore and Omagh," she said yesterday.

"This morning there has been a full multi-agency response on the ground.

"Obviously people are very worried, and rightly so.

"There are times in which the water was coming in close to people's properties.

"Certain areas have been badly affected in Omagh, particularly some of the housing developments such as Hunters Crescent and Gortmore Gardens.

"We have called into each of those places during the day.

"I must commend the fire, road and river agencies, who have been on the ground helping constituents where they can."

There had been concern among some residents in the area that inadequate levels of sandbags had been provided in order to protect property from the rising tides.

The Department for Infrastructure said "hundreds" of sandbags were handed out to homes and businesses in risk affected areas.

Ms Begley explained she was confident that resources were now being adequately directed into the response.

"I know there was a concern among people that sandbags hadn't been delivered to some properties, but that has now been rectified," she added.

"It is important to get the message out to people and it is important that the agencies continue to monitor the situation.

"We are very lucky there has been a good community response. If anybody needs any further help, don't be afraid to reach out to myself."

The Met Office said today and tomorrow will remain cold and very breezy, with frequent gusts and showers blowing through and winds of up to 60mph. The showers will be wintry at times with some snow expected to settle over high ground.

It will continue to feel chilly, with temperatures only reaching around 3C-4C but feeling a lot colder in the strong winds. Lower temperatures could also see sleet throughout the day, causing some headaches for commuters during the rush hour periods.

The Met Office said this continued unsettled weather comes as a result of a different airmass of cold weather following on the back of Storm Ciara.

Helen Roberts from the Met Office said: "It doesn't look like there is anything particularly settled on the way. There is potential for disruption from the wind and snow at higher ground, which could start to mount up over the hills.

"It is showers, so it will be a bit hit and miss as to where sees them. It could however start to see some accumulations building up. It may get a little milder by the end of the week, but it will remain unsettled."

Belfast Telegraph