STORM BRENDAN: Several parks and council facilities closed across NI

Loughgall Country Park Photo courtesy of Google
Loughgall Country Park Photo courtesy of Google
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A number of parks and council facilities have been closed as a safety precaution as Storm Brendan blasts Northern Ireland.

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council said it has closed six parks today.

With gusts of 65 to 75mph expected today from 10am, there are concerns over flying debris and falling branches.

Issuing a weather warning, the council said: "The public is advised to avoid forest and country parks until high winds subside.

Gosford Forest Park, Lurgan Park, Loughgall Country Park (walking routes), Portadown People's Park, Solitude Park, Banbridge and Tannaghmore Gardens, are closed to the public today due to the risk of falling branches & debris.

It is understood a number of parks in Co Down have also been closed for safety reason.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said: "In addition to Delamont Country Park, Slieve Gullion Forest Park and Kilbroney Park being closed as a precautionary measure, please note that the Rostrevor and Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are also closed.

"In line with a Yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office for a very windy period from 10am until midnight we are advising the public to exercise caution when visiting harbours, nature reserves or coastal sites in vehicles or on foot until the high winds subside. We would appreciate the support of the public in minimising any risks and encourage them to remain aware of updated Met Office advice."

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council said: "The public is advised to avoid forest and country parks due to the risk of falling branches & debris. A number of play parks and pitches may also be closed.

Closed to the public today (Monday 13 January)

Recycling Centres are closed temporarily in the following areas:

Banbridge Recycling Centre

Dromore Recycling Centre

Rathfrliand Recycling Centre

Public Parks are closed due to the risk of falling branches and debris:

Gosford Forest Park

Lurgan Park

Loughgall Country Park (walking routes)

Poradown People’s Park

Solitude Park, Banbridge

Tannaghmore Gardens

Please note: There may be further disruption to council facilities including parks and open spaces. The public are reminded to monitor the Met Office forecasts for their area and to be aware of the weather conditions and safety warnings.

Emergency numbers

You should note the following numbers in case of emergency:

Emergency services – 999 or 112

Flooding Incident Line – 0300 2000 100

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks – 03457 643 643

Report a fallen tree or blocked road – 0300 200 7891

NI Gas Emergency Service – 0800 002 001

Northern Ireland Water Waterline – 03457 440 088

Housing Executive – 03448 920 901

Refuse Collections

Helpful advice during high winds

To help prevent litter and keep our borough tidy, please follow these tips during strong winds:

Put your refuse collection bin(s) / boxes out on the morning of collection – please try not to leave your recycling out the night before

To prevent refuse collection bin(s) / boxes from blowing away, please bring them back in as soon as you can after collections have taken place

If your recycling containers are only half-full and you can manage, please consider waiting until your next scheduled collection day when the weather may be calmer to leave them out or bring them to one of the Council’s Recycling Centres

If you have a kerbside box, please use a lid to stop your recycling from blowing out

Please ensure that all of your refuse fits in your bin and that the lid can close. If the lid is up, the wind may catch it and blow waste around your neighbourhood

Thank you for recycling and for helping to keep your neighbourhood clean and tidy.

Roads information

You can access the latest updates about roads at this link:

TrafficwatchNI

Advice for road users

All road users are asked to pay attention to any road signs and temporary arrangements put in place during weather warnings. Longer journey times or cancellations are possible if road, rail, air and ferry services are affected with the chance that some roads and bridges could close.

High-sided vehicles are most affected by windy weather, but strong gusts can also blow a car, cyclist, motorcyclist or horse rider off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong cross winds, or when passing bridges or gaps in the hedges.

In very windy weather a vehicle may be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles. Motorcyclists are particularly affected, so keep well back from them when they are overtaking a high-sided vehicle.

Motorists are also advised to drive with care due to possible wind-blown debris.

Travel by air or sea advice

If you’re planning to travel by air or sea, you should check with the ferry company or airline in case there are any delays or cancellations.

Ferry services

Airlines and airports

Strong winds advice

You should:

keep your property in a well-maintained condition (for example replace/ repair any loose roof tiles, guttering, and so on that could potentially come loose and cause injury or damage to property)

secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture, wheelie bins, trampolines, or anything else that could be blown around

close and securely fasten doors and windows

park vehicles in a garage (if you have one) or keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls, and fences

make sure you are prepared should there be a power cut

During a storm you should:

stay indoors as much as possible

if you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees

not go outside to repair damage while the storm is ongoing

not drive unless your journey is really necessary

After a storm you should:

be careful not to touch any electrical/ telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging

not walk too close to walls, buildings, and trees as they could have been weakened

Preparing for a power cut

It’s important to be prepared for a potential loss of power. You should:

know where your household fuses and trip switches are so that you can check if the problem is with your electrics only

test smoke alarms regularly

keep a supply of new batteries in torches and radios (for checking updates on news bulletins)

keep a supply of candles

keep mobile phones, laptops or tablets fully charged – so you will have use of battery power for a short time at least

have the telephone numbers you might need to hand (as well as mobile phones, a non-mains powered landline telephone will help you stay in touch during any disruptions to your power supply)

if you have a baby at home, make sure you have a supply of pre-prepared formula baby milk (if used) and prepare a flask of hot water to heat bottles and baby food (it is always safer to make up a fresh feed; when this is not possible, feeds should never be stored for longer than 24 hours)

If you depend on electrical equipment that is vital to your health, contact Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) Networks to get on their Critical Care Register:

Critical Care Register – NIE Networks website

If your electricity goes off

If your electricity goes off, you should:

check your fuses and trip switches – then check if your neighbours are without power

leave one light on

leave your fridge/ freezer switched on with the door shut to maintain a low temperature

check that other electrical appliances and machinery are switched off at the wall

preferably use a torch, oil or gas lamp as a source of light rather than candles

if you must use naked flames, please take extra care and make certain that they are put out before you go to bed

check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours in your area to make sure they are okay

if you are using a generator, be careful where you site it in case of carbon monoxide poisoning

Reporting a power cut

If your power is off and you want to report it or get more information, contact NIE Networks Customer Helpline or visit their website:

NIE Networks Customer Helpline: 03457 643 643

Power cuts – NIE Networks website

You can find an updated list of areas affected by power cuts on the NIE Networks website