Belfast Telegraph

Rush hour chaos in Northern Ireland after heavy rain leads to floods and road closures

By Christopher Leebody

Morning rush hour rain caused significant traffic disruption for commuters yesterday as flooding saw a number of roads closed.

The Met Office had issued a yellow warning for rain until 11am yesterday morning and this, combined with gusts of up to 60mph in exposed areas, caused havoc with travel to work and school.

In Belfast Laganbank Road in Lanyon Place was closed as serious flooding left cars and pedestrians unable to pass under the railway bridge.

Townsend Street in the west of the city was also closed, with disruption caused to businesses in Townsend Enterprise Park, after the street was deluged. The water also engulfed a car, with several other drivers turning back rather than risk the rising pool.

Surface water on roads also affected some of the main routes into the city, causing significant delays for motorists on the Sydenham bypass and Westlink.

Traffic was at a standstill on both the M1 and M2, with many bus services also affected.

The busy commuter route between Bangor and Belfast was also hit by flooding.

Along the north Antrim coast the River Bann burst its banks, with Strand Road in Coleraine left partially under water.

In Ballymena water flowed down roads in Pennybridge Industrial Estate.

The Rathlin Island ferry was restricted to only one sailing yesterday.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2019
Several roads across Northern Ireland are flooded due to heavy rain.
Police have advised motorists to reduce their speed and take care as surface water is affecting a number of roads. The Met Office has issued a yellow severe weather warning for rain in counties Down and Antrim. The Hillhall Road has been affected by the heavy rain.
Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2019 Several roads across Northern Ireland are flooded due to heavy rain. Police have advised motorists to reduce their speed and take care as surface water is affecting a number of roads. The Met Office has issued a yellow severe weather warning for rain in counties Down and Antrim. The Hillhall Road has been affected by the heavy rain. Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/19 Vehicles struggle threw the flooding on the Laganbank Road in Belfast on Tuesday, after heavy rain fall across N Ireland. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/19 Vehicles break down after flooding on the Laganbank Road in Belfast on Tuesday, after heavy rain fall across N Ireland. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The scene in Townsend Street in Belfast following heavy overnight rain. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 12, 2019. Serious flooding has closed roads in Northern Ireland. The River Bann burst its banks near the north coast. Strand Road in Coleraine was left under water. The Met Office issued a yellow severe weather warning for rain in counties Antrim and Down. See PA story WEATHER Rain. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The scene in Townsend Street in Belfast following heavy overnight rain. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 12, 2019. Serious flooding has closed roads in Northern Ireland. The River Bann burst its banks near the north coast. Strand Road in Coleraine was left under water. The Met Office issued a yellow severe weather warning for rain in counties Antrim and Down. See PA story WEATHER Rain. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The scene in Townsend Street in Belfast following heavy overnight rain. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 12, 2019. Serious flooding has closed roads in Northern Ireland. The River Bann burst its banks near the north coast. Strand Road in Coleraine was left under water. The Met Office issued a yellow severe weather warning for rain in counties Antrim and Down. See PA story WEATHER Rain. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/19 Struggle threw the flooding on the Laganbank Road in Belfast on Tuesday, after heavy rain fall across N Ireland. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/19 Struggle threw the flooding on the Laganbank Road in Belfast on Tuesday, after heavy rain fall across N Ireland. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/19 Vehicles struggle threw the flooding on the Laganbank Road in Belfast on Tuesday, after heavy rain fall across N Ireland. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Several roads across Northern Ireland are flooded due to heavy rain. Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.
Flooding on Townsend Street

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said the cause of yesterday's heavy outbreak of rain was "northern pressure out in the North Sea and weather patterns wrapping around it".

He added: "The issue around the heavy rainfall may have been more flash flooding, with areas of roadway becoming more inundated with surface water and spray. As with any rain warning there is always the potential for small localised areas of flooding."

Transport blogger Wesley Johnston attributed the cause of such disruption and flooding on our roads to a combination of factors.

He said: "We have a very dense network and a very wet country. A lot of our roads run at low elevations around a lot of water courses. That can be accentuated if you have a road in a very low area, there is nowhere for it to go when it drains.

"In urban areas it would be more to do with the infrastructure. The road network is passable but could be improved a lot. For example, by making sure that gullies are cleaned regularly - that is an issue in some places." According to the Met Office, today will start quite clear and bright. By the time we get to midday we should start to see cloud advancing from the west.

The early hours of tomorrow will be very clear overnight, with potential for frost. There may be some showers, although it will be generally quite clear and bright.

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