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Gallery: Windy weather warning for Northern Ireland

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Sandbags and other flood defences are still being placed in areas of high risk as the danger from heavy rainfall and high tides continues from last week.

On Friday, a major multi-agency operation saw thousands of sandbags placed beside riverbanks and distributed to worried householders.

One of the worst affected areas was Sydenham in east Belfast but the afternoon high tide stopped short of bursting the Connswater’s banks close to the Sydenham area.

However, with further gales and tidal surges expected today – particularly along the northern, eastern and south Down coastlines – all agencies are on alert for disruption to the transport network as well as the flooding risk to homes in low-lying areas.

Police commander in charge of the multi-agency response ACC Stephen Martin said there were plans in place to deal with potential flooding in the Sydenham, Corporation Street and Sailortown areas of Belfast, and the Ards Peninsula.

ACC Martin also advised that a number of underground car parks in Belfast city centre, including Victoria Square, should close today due to the flood risk.

He added: “We would urge the public to remain on alert and to be mindful of their own safety – in particular, to avoid coastal paths, be wary of possibly unstable harbour defences and to drive with extreme caution as many roads continue to be affected by surface water.”

Centres distributing sandbags to affected householders include: Newtownards – North Road council depot; Portaferry – Market House Square; Ballywalter – Ballywalter Presbyterian Church car park; Castlewellan – Bann Road recycling centre; and the Strangford Road council depot in Downpatrick.

Coleraine Borough Council has said the recent bad weather and high tides have left Portrush’s East Strand promenade damaged.

Repair work is expected to begin today and could last until mid-March with parts of the promenade closed.

Yesterday, strong winds and high tides caused serious flooding in parts of Co Down, with the Portaferry Road on the Ards Peninsula closed after it became submerged in deep water.

The main road between Rostrevor and Warrenpoint was also closed after large waves caused flooding.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long said the strong on-shore winds and rain forecast for today could potentially cause more problems.

“I would, therefore, urge residents to collect any additional sandbags they may need from Palmerston Road civic amenity site from 10am Monday and, in the meantime, continue to listen to the advice given out by the agencies in relation to flooding.”

DUP MLA Robin Newton said that while the Met Office is forecasting a repeat of Friday’s extreme weather conditions, “cooperation and vigilance are key to keeping residents safe”.

He said: “The Sydenham area is the area most at risk and householders need to continue to be vigilant. Sandbag barriers constructed by the statutory bodies along the Connswater River must be left in place to prevent flooding.

“The community spirit that so successfully saw us through this problem, with neighbour helping neighbour, needs to continue.”

A spokesman for Meteogroup, the weather forecasting division of the Press Association, said coastal winds could gust beyond 60mph today.

“There will be sunny spells between the showers and it will be fairly windy, and you could see some big branches come down, but we’ve had a lot stronger than this this winter so it’s not particularly bad tomorrow (Monday).

“Tides are still quite high so there will be some very big waves around costal areas, but the tides aren’t as high as they were on Friday.”

The spokesman added; “The winds will ease off Monday night into Tuesday and it’s just going to be fairly showery. Looking through the rest of the week there will be some sunshine at times but some showers as well.” It is pretty mild for this time of year with highs of 10C which is a few degrees above average.”

Members of the public are advised to call the Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100 or the police non-emergency line on 0845 600 8000 if they would like advice or support around potential flooding.

 

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