Belfast Telegraph

Travel chaos and power cuts as Northern Ireland is fiercely battered by Storm Brendan

Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Northern Ireland was battered by winds of up to 80mph on Monday as Storm Brendan raged across the country.

Coastal areas were worst hit by the high winds and rain but there was also widespread disruption across the transport network on the roads, rail and at airports.

The Met Office had warned coastal routes and communities could be particularly affected by large waves - and so it proved, with emergency action being taken in Carrickfergus to prevent homes being flooded after part of the sea wall collapsed under the onslaught of high winds and huge waves.

Emergency services were at the scene on the Belfast Road from early afternoon with sandbags used to prevent water entering homes.

Horrendous driving conditions on the Shore Road and Belfast Road area of Carrickfergus during Storm Brendan yesterday
Horrendous driving conditions on the Shore Road and Belfast Road area of Carrickfergus during Storm Brendan yesterday
Horrendous driving conditions on the Shore Road and Belfast Road area of Carrickfergus during Storm Brendan yesterday
A satellite image shows Storm Brendan slamming into the Western Isles of Scotland and Northern Ireland yesterday
A car makes its way through the floods on Belfast Road in Carrickfergus
Firemen recover a ‘runaway’ trolly holder on the Belfast Road in Carrickfergus
Emergency services deal with flooding in the the Rhanbuoy area of Carrickfergus
Emergency services deal with flooding in the the Rhanbuoy area of Carrickfergus

Yellow weather warnings remained in place for Northern Ireland, much of the western half of the UK, and the north east of Scotland until midnight.

Extreme caution was urged for road users throughout the evening, with surface water and fallen debris making travel conditions hazardous.

The highest wind gust recorded in the Republic of Ireland was 83mph at Roches Point on the County Cork coast and in Northern Ireland 63mph was recorded at Magilligan.

NIE Networks reported power cuts across Northern Ireland, though said the damage to the network was at a "low level".

A spokesman said the worst affected areas were in the east, although there were faults throughout Northern Ireland.

About 2,000 customers were without electricity last night, though power had been restored to 6,400 NIE users.

In the Republic, more than 30,000 homes and businesses were without electricity last night.

There was disruption at the airports as well, with several flights diverted from Belfast City Airport to Belfast International.

One Aer Lingus pilot has been hailed as a hero.

The plane, arriving from London Heathrow, had to twice abort a landing.

"The talent and skills of the Aer Lingus pilot was nothing short of miraculous," Belfast traveller Dwaine Vance told the Belfast Telegraph.

"You know it was a scary flight when people take out their phones to make calls and are openly sobbing," he said.

"Although the flight was a scary experience, the pilot maintained control at all times and the cabin crew were very professional at all times.

"Thankfully we landed safely, albeit at the wrong airport," said Mr Vance.

On the railways, a fallen tree at Carnalea saw the closure of the main Bangor line.

And on the roads there were closures across the country because of fallen trees, including major routes in Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Glengormley and Londonderry.

The Portaferry Road was closed between Newtownards to Greyabbey due to flooding and one motorist has a lucky escape when he was trapped in a car by flood water on Mahee Island.

The Fire & Rescue Service confirmed firefighters pushed the car out of the water and rescued the man, who escaped unharmed.

The PSNI said Seaview in Warrenpoint, where a seawall partially collapsed, and South Promenade in Newcastle were also closed in both directions, while Derry City and Strabane Council closed all its open spaces and play parks on Monday. Ferry operator P&O cancelled sailings from Larne and Cairnryan, but the storm failed to put off Stena Line from launching their newest ferry on Monday morning. Stena Estrid braved the storm, leaving Holyhead at 10.55am and arriving in Dublin shortly after 2.30pm where it received a traditional water cannon salute.

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