Storm Frank decimates Ulster power and transport

McAuley Multimedia.. A number of homes are without power in North Antrim this evening as Storm Frank batters the North Coast. NIE are working to return power as high winds and rain continue to batter the area. Charlotte Wade from Ballymoney is using candlelight until power returns. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
McAuley Multimedia.. A number of homes are without power in North Antrim this evening as Storm Frank batters the North Coast. NIE are working to return power as high winds and rain continue to batter the area. Charlotte Wade from Ballymoney is using candlelight until power returns. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Storm Frank has closed almost 40 roads across Northern Ireland, left almost 7,500 homes without power and brought ferries and airports close to a standstill.

Gale force winds gusted to almost 70mph for hours along the north coast on Tuesday night, while dozens of roads across south Down and north Armagh were particularly affected by fallen trees.

At one point 4,000 homes in Enniskillen area were without power as contractors risked their own safety throughout the night to reconnect power cables in winds of up to 60mph.

The Met Office had issued wind and rain warnings right across the UK from Tuesday.

An amber rain warning is in place until 7am on Wednesday - warning the public to prepare for disruption - while a lesser yellow wind warning is in place until 8am.

High winds snapped power cables with loss of power affecting thousands in Enniskillen, Ballymena and Coleraine and hundreds in Bangor, Downpatrick and Omagh.

The Met Office said that winds of around 50mph affected most of Northern Ireland on Tuesday night with 15mm of rain having fallen by 11pm and 20-40mm expected by this morning, reaching 60mm on higher ground.

Flooding may be expected in some areas today as a result, a spokeswoman said.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council area saw 15 roads affected by fallen trees and one by flooding, while trees fell on 10 roads in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. In Londonderry high vehicles were blocked from the Foyle Bridge while two roads were closed due to flooding.

The A20 Portaferry Road near Newtownards was closed between Finlays Road and Mount Stewart Road due to undermining of the carriageway by seawater.

Fermanagh had three roads closed due to flooding. A fallen tree closed the M22 in Antrim.

The Larne to Cairnryan ferry sailings were suspended and are expected to resume from both ports at 7.30am on Wednesday.

In Co Down the Strangford Lough Ferry Service was also suspended.

Five incoming flights were cancelled at George Best Belfast City Airport. Aer Lingus and British Airways were amongst the airlines affected while flights from London Heathrow and the Isle of Man were cancelled.

Two flights out of the airport to the Isle of Man were also cancelled.

At Belfast International Airport there were delays for arriving passengers from Edinburgh, Tenerife, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Gatwick and Bristol as high winds prevented access steps moving into place.

Two inbound flights, from Luton and Tenerife were diverted to Dublin and there were knock on delays for outgoing flights. Ground handling firm Swissport also suspended operations for a time due to high winds.

Meanwhile, the Coastguard helped rescue one person with a suspected broken ankle from Torr Head near Ballycastle yesterday.