Belfast Telegraph

Storm Eleanor rips roof off Harland and Wolff factory building in Northern Ireland - 1000 homes still without power

  • 1100 homes in Northern Ireland still without power
  • 90mph gusts recorded at Orlock Head in Co Down
  • Irish League games abandoned

By Claire Williamson and Cate McCurry

More than 20,000 homes were left without electricity at the peak of a power cut last night as 90mph gusts battered Northern Ireland.

The Met Office issued an amber warning as Storm Eleanor lashed the region with strong winds. Scores of trees fell blocking many roads, prompting police to issue a warning not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Gusts of up to 90mph were recorded at Orlock Head in Co Down.

Around 12,000 homes were without electricity due to damage caused by Storm Eleanor last night. Earlier, 21,000 homes had no power.

As of 9pm on Wednesday there were less than 1,000 homes and businesses without power.

Julia Carson, NIE Networks Communications Manager said that although there has been damage to the network, the repair process 'is progressing well'.

But she warned that due to the extent of the damage some people in the worst affected areas in the south East mainly Newry, Ards Peninsula, Armagh and Downpatrick areas may be without power overnight.

Ms Carson said: “We would like to remind customers that if they do lose electricity supplies they should report the fault online at nienetworks.co.uk or call our Customer Helpline on 03457 643 643.  Put safety first and if you do see any trees down across powerlines or broken electricity poles, keep away and call NIE Networks immediately.

“It is likely that some customers will be without power overnight as we respond to over 200 incidences of damage to the network.  Our staff will continue do everything possible to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

“Our Local Incident Centres in the worst affected areas are continuing to co-ordinate the local repair effort and we have brought in additional call agents to answer customer queries.”

Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart was caught up in the storm and tweeted a picture after the rear window of his car was smashed due to flying roof tiles.

Mr Stewart, who lives in Carrickfergus, said: "Tiles came off the roof and landed straight on top of my windshield and did some serious damage to the body work and the window.

"Had it hit someone there is no doubt it would have killed them.

"It was three big massive blocks, so thankfully it was just the window and we can worry about that in the morning - if it had've been myself, one of my kids or a neighbour in the line of fire, you can see what it would have done to somebody's head."

Meanwhile, all three of last night's Danske Bank Premiership fixtures were abandoned due to the weather.

Parts of the stand at Bangor Fuels Arena was evacuated following reports of damage.

Co Fermanagh was reportedly the worst affected area with scores of fallen trees blocking roads.

There were more than 20 trees lying on the Ballyconnell Road near Derrylin.

It is expected that Eleanor will bring more strong to gale force westerly winds and showers to Northern Ireland today with a yellow weather warning in place until teatime.

The temperature will be a maximum of 8C.

A yellow weather warning is also in force for the north east and west England and parts of Scotland with exposed areas set to suffer the worst conditions.

The Met Office issued several national severe weather warnings due to the potential for travel disruption.

Passengers are advised to check with transport providers ahead of their journey.

Met Office forecaster John Wylie said: "The worst of the rain should have cleared by midnight but there will be squally showers thereafter blowing through on strong wind all the way through today.

"There will be no sign of anything settling before Friday."

Earlier yesterday evening, winds reached speeds of up to 70mph, with counties Armagh and Down and the Belfast area the worst affected.

Stormy conditions are expected to rage until the weekend starts.

"By Saturday and Sunday, it will be calmer but colder," Mr Wylie added.

Although sunshine has been forecast for the weekend, temperatures will drop to 5C dipping to freezing point tonight.

Mr Wylie said early morning commuters could be faced with debris and surface water on the province's roads and possibly some disruption to transport.

High waves can be expected along the north Antrim coast today.

Pedestrians are urged to take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades and not to put themselves in unnecessary danger trying to take 'storm selfies'.

Trafficwatch NI has advised of heavy rain across the north and west causing "some mostly localised road flooding with run-off from now saturated ground".

The Department of Infrastructure is reminding motorists to take extra care if severe gales continue, to slow down and keep well back from the vehicle in front.

Motorists must also be prepared for debris and obstructions in the road and are reminded that strong wind can blow vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians off course.

Flooding hit Galway city, Salthill, Oranmore and Clarinbridge as high tides combined with gales during rush hour.

In Galway, streets around the docks were flooded after high tides breached defences and inundated streets.

Water was more than one foot deep in places.

Emergency contacts:

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks – 03457 643 643

NI Gas Emergency Service – 0800 002 001

Northern Ireland Water Waterline – 03457 440 088

Flooding Incident Line – 0300 2000 100

Housing Executive – 03448 920 901

NIE Networks reminded customers of the precautionary measures to take in the event of a power cut:

Never approach broken lines or damaged poles, and keep children and animals away - report damage to NIE Networks on 03457 643 643 and listen to recorded messages carefully

If you are using a generator, be careful where you site it in case of carbon monoxide poisoning

Turn off electric cookers, ovens, irons, etc. if electricity supply is lost

Leave a light switched on so you know when power has been restored

Take extra care if using candles, oil lamps or other naked flames

Test smoke alarms with fresh batteries

Ensure adequate ventilation if using gas heaters.

Strong winds advice:

Keep your property in a well-maintained condition (for example  replace/ repair any loose roof tiles, guttering, and so on that could potentially come loose and cause injury or damage to property)

Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture, wheelie bins, trampolines, or anything else that could be blown around

Close and securely fasten doors and windows

Park vehicles in a garage (if you have one) or keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls, and fences

Make sure you are prepared should there be a power cut

For more information and advice visit nidirect

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