A multi-agency flood warning has been issued in preparation for expected weather events over the weekend.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “The advice given by the Met Office and other partner agencies shows that a combination of heavy rain, strong winds and high tides beginning tomorrow and lasting throughout the weekend has created a serious risk of flooding in a number of coastal areas across Northern Ireland.
“We are currently coordinating work with a number of agencies to ensure that we are well placed to deal with all eventualities.
“There is the potential for flooding in Belfast. Areas identified as high risk at this time are Sydenham and around the Docks area. We would ask residents in Sydenham (specifically, streets lower than the Holywood Road down to the Sydenham bypass, and streets around the Connsbrook River) to consider making preparations for potential flooding in the area. Along with partner agencies, we have been advising residents of the risks this afternoon and we will be working to provide assistance to those who may be affected.
“Sandbags have been deployed to protect some key facilities and to bolster the existing defences in Sydenham. We would ask residents to not remove these sandbags for personal use as this will place the homes in the area under an increased risk of flooding.
“At present we are not recommending people to evacuate their homes or properties but we are keeping the situation under constant review. I would ask them, where possible, to think about moving valuables upstairs and packing a case so that, if we make a recommendation to evacuate, they are in a position to do so. Where possible, we would ask those people who are affected by flooding to go to friends and family outside the flood risk area.
“In general, over the weekend across Northern Ireland we would ask all members of the public to stay away from coastal paths and walkways and to drive with extreme caution.”
High tide is expected at around 12.10 on Friday.
Other areas at risk include Newry and Newtownards, and to a lesser extent Larne, Newcastle, Strabane and Londonderry.
In Londonderry, the Foyle Bridge has been closed to high-sided vehicles and a 30mph speed limit has been introduced for other vehicles.
In Belfast, the underground carpark at the Victoria Square shopping centre has been closed due to flooding fears.
Flooding can be reported on the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100.
Over the rest of Friday police will issue further information and will be issuing regular traffic and travel updates via the media.
For advice and guidance, people are advised to visit the flood advice pages on both the Belfast City Council and NI Direct websites.
Anyone with specific concerns should call the police on the non-emergency number 0845 600 8000.
However, if someone’s life is at risk due to flood water, they should always ring 999.