| 14.6°C Belfast

Ferocious winds wreak havoc as Ellen makes it a stormy August

Close

People walk along the harbour in Saltcoats in Ayrshire as high waves batter the coastline

People walk along the harbour in Saltcoats in Ayrshire as high waves batter the coastline

PA

People walk along the harbour in Saltcoats in Ayrshire as high waves batter the coastline

These were the dramatic images as Storm Ellen unleashed its fury yesterday.

Almost 194,000 homes and businesses in the Republic were hit by power cuts and roads were blocked with fallen trees as winds and rain swept in.

But as the tail of the storm whips through Northern Ireland there is at least a little good news on the weather front.

Forecasters say brighter spells with some warm sunshine should spread across the region today and tomorrow.

It follows a day of chaotic conditions with high winds leaving trees uprooted in several areas and gusts still blowing overnight.

Part of the roof of the O'Neills Sportswear company in Strabane collapsed as torrential rain lashed many areas.

In Co Fermanagh six people were rescued from two boats at Devenish Island when the vessels began breaking their moorings in the early hours of yesterday.

Close

Part of the roof of the O’Neills International Sports Company factory in Strabane, Co Tyrone, collapsed as a result of torrential rain

Part of the roof of the O’Neills International Sports Company factory in Strabane, Co Tyrone, collapsed as a result of torrential rain

Part of the roof of the O’Neills International Sports Company factory in Strabane, Co Tyrone, collapsed as a result of torrential rain

Enniskillen RNLI said its volunteers secured the boats and brought all six people safely into the town on its lifeboat.

BBC weather forecaster Barra Best, who has been watching the storm's progress throughout Ireland, said: "Gusts of up to 60mph were registered in Northern Ireland during Thursday.

"Thomastown in Co Fermanagh topped the list with gusts of 62mph (100km/h).

"It's all very unseasonal for August.

"But the high winds will have peaked overnight and there will be a bit of relief, with Friday and Saturday looking better for anyone trying to get out and about.

"But there is still a wind warning in place for everywhere, except Derry and Fermanagh.

Close

Waves crash over into the street in Whitehead

Waves crash over into the street in Whitehead

Waves crash over into the street in Whitehead

"And we can still expect some spells of torrential rain, hail and thunderstorms, which could lead to some flooding in places.

"While there will still be a few showers around over the weekend, and it might not seem like August, it will definitely be a bit better and could feel quite warm when the sun does appear."

According to the weatherman, Storm Ellen resulted in some new records for the Republic.

He added: "The storm brought the lowest mean sea-level pressure on record with 966.4msl at Athenry, Co Galway. The previous record was 967.8msl at Belmullet, Co Mayo, in 1959.

"The highest 10-minute wind speed record was also broken with 111km/h (69mph) recorded at Roche's Point in Co Cork, beating the previous record of 83km/h at Malin Head in Co Donegal in 1973.

"The figures we have also show that the second-highest wind gust for the month of August was recorded at Roche's point at 143km/h (89mph).

"That was marginally beaten by the 144km/h (90mph) recorded at Claremorris in Co Mayo in 1999.

"The red warnings issued meant there were dangerous, life-threatening conditions out there, so it will be a relief for everyone to see things calm over the weekend.

"Though it's still not too great for the last couple of weeks of the summer season."

With the Met office extending a yellow warning for most of Northern Ireland into this morning, gusts of up to 50mph are possible around exposed coasts. Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely, it added.

Bus and train services may be affected, with delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges likely.

Some short-term loss of power and other services is possible and it is likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities will be impacted by spray and large waves until winds start to ease later today.

The PSNI has warned drivers to take care on the roads.

Belfast Telegraph