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Northern Ireland flooding: New Met Office warning as fire service rescues six people after ‘apocalyptic’ downpour

Yellow alert in place until 9pm on Sunday with travel disruption likely


Parts of Derry have been flooded after heavy rainfall. (Pic: Andy McDonagh Photography, Eclipso Pictures)

Parts of Derry have been flooded after heavy rainfall. (Pic: Andy McDonagh Photography, Eclipso Pictures)

Parts of Derry have been flooded after heavy rainfall. (Pic: Andy McDonagh Photography, Eclipso Pictures)

Six people had to be rescued as flooding hit the north-west of Northern Ireland – with the Met Office issuing a new alert for heavy rain on Sunday.

One was helped from a vehicle stranded in water, while five others trapped in flooded properties were led to safety.

More than 100 emergency calls were made to the fire service in just over six hours on Saturday night.

Teams from the Department for Infrastructure also responded to nearly 300 calls to the flooding incident line. Over 8,000 sandbags were deployed.

One councillor in the north-west said the downpour was “apocalyptic”.

On Sunday morning the Met Office issued a yellow warning about heavy showers or longer spells of rain with some thunderstorms likely to cause some travel disruption and flooding.

It is in place from noon to 9pm on Sunday and affects all six Northern Ireland counties and parts of Scotland.

The Met Office said: “Early showers, some heavy, over Northern Ireland will give way to some more persistent rain, again heavy and perhaps thundery at times, later this morning and afternoon.

"This rain then moves eastwards into Scotland later this afternoon, conditions here having also been showery during the morning. Showers or rain again may also be accompanied by thunder in a few places, perhaps more likely this afternoon.

"Over Northern Ireland 10-20 mm of rain is likely to fall in some places.

"Over Scotland, rain is likely to be heavier with 20-30 mm likely for some parts and as much as 30-50 mm rain in a few spots.”

In parts of Londonderry and Strabane on Saturday, police issued warnings about hazardous driving conditions.

Flooding was reported in several areas of the city, including the Strand Road and Foyle Road.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said today: “Between 7.04pm on Saturday and 1.30am on Sunday, NIFRS received a total of 106 emergency 999 flood-related calls which resulted in our firefighters responding to 49 operational incidents.

“NIFRS rescued one person from a vehicle in water and five persons trapped within flooded properties.

“NIFRS maintained normal emergency response throughout the evening, attending a range of operational incidents including special service calls and other emergencies.”

SDLP councillor Steven Edwards said Castlederg was particularly badly hit.

He added: I’ve visited and spoken to a number of homeowners and businesses across the 'Derg who’ve been impacted by flooding.

"Apocalyptic levels of rain and surface water for many. My heart goes out to them all.”

On Saturday evening, the Western Health Trust said the Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry had to temporarily close some sections of the emergency department, while events at the Foyle Maritime Festival on Saturday evening were closed for the health and safety of visitors and staff.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said the floods caused destruction and major disruption .

“It has been a desperate and difficult night for people across the North West who spent Saturday night fighting flooding to protect their and their neighbours’ homes and property," he said.

“The result of heavy rain over the last 24 hours is destruction and major disruption in communities across Derry and Strabane. I have written to the Communities Minister this morning asking her to urgently activate the emergency payment scheme for flooding to get money to householders who are desperately trying to protect their homes or clean up the mess they have been left with.”

DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton said the heavy rain has had a "devastating impact" on many properties across the area.He said several businesses have been damaged by flooding in the Eglinton area.

Anoop Guram, whose takeaway business in Strabane was flooded, told the BBC the water was about three inches deep in his premises.

"We had to close... there will be damage to the floors,” he said. "I will have to get the loss adjusters. You're talking about £12,000 or £15,000 in [damages] total."

A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said: “Heavy rainfall on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning resulted in flooding in a number of areas across the north west.

"DfI operational teams, who had been on a heightened state of alert in conjunction with other multi-agency partners, responded to almost 300 calls to the flooding incident line and provided assistance to affected residents/businesses throughout the night. It is estimated that over 8,000 sandbags were deployed.

"Whilst waters levels have receded at affected locations, DfI and multi-agency partners are still in a high state of alert across all areas and we continue to prepare for a further rain warning issued for Sunday with pre-emptive measures ongoing including the replenishment of sandbag stocks and checking of drainage infrastructure.

"The Flooding Incident Line number is 0300 2000 100 for anyone to report and seek assistance if flooding occurs.”

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