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Gusts of 90mph to hit Northern Ireland

Gale force winds have battered Northern Ireland over the Christmas period with more stormy weather forecast.

Gale force winds have battered Northern Ireland over the Christmas period with more stormy weather forecast.

Gusts of up to 90mph are expected to cut across Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Storms caused by an Atlantic depression left 7,000 customers without electricity in Northern Ireland last night, though most have now been reconnected,The worst of the winds affected northern and eastern parts of Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said last night that it expected further damage to the electricity network as bad weather is set to continue.

Julia Carson, NIE Communications Manager said: “Our emergency crews worked through the night, carrying out repairs in areas where it was safe to do so. The winds peaked at 80mph, bringing down trees across lines and breaking electricity poles.

“We may need to take some customers off supply this morning to facilitate permanent network repairs but we hope to have electricity restored to the majority of homes by lunchtime.

“We would like to remind customers that if they do lose electricity supplies they should contact the NIE Customer Helpline on 08457 643 643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk.”

A spokeswoman for weather forecaster Meteogroup said gusts of up to 85mph were experienced. The winds were strongest in the west and north-west, she said, and tailed off to around 65mph in Belfast and the east.

The Westlink underpass in Belfast suffered significant flooding although traffic could still pass with caution.

The heaviest rain was yesterday evening with 13.6mm falling between 5pm and 6pm at Stormont and 12.4mm at Murlough in the same period. Rain was lighter in the west with 4.2mm falling at Magilligan.

At 5.15pm police warned motorists to slow down on the Foyle Bridge due to surface water and high winds while Roads Service banned high-sided vehicles.

At 5.35pm police urged motorists to exercise “extreme caution” on unlit roads everywhere due to high winds, noting several trees had fallen on roads in the Newry area.

By 6.10pm police reported a tree had fallen on the M22 northbound near Randalstown, partially blocking the road.

NIE faults can be reported on 08457 643 643.

 

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