Overnight ice warning after NI gales

Published Wednesday, 12 February 2014
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An overnight warning for ice has been put in place for Northern Ireland after the region was lashed with gales and heavy rain on Wednesday.

Overnight ice warning after NI gales
A section of the Rostrevor Road on the Co Down coast has collapsed. (© UTV)

The severe weather caused disruption to traffic and travel as winds of up to 80mph felled trees and led the Met Office to issue an amber alert.

It remained in effect until just before midnight when it was downgraded to a yellow warning, while a further yellow warning for ice came in at 11pm and lasts right through to Thursday morning.

Forecasters said there is a possibility of further snowfall.

"Showers will turn increasingly wintry later on Wednesday evening, overnight and into Thursday morning," the Met Office said.

"As the winds decrease, clear spells between the showers will allow road temperatures to fall below freezing leading to some icy stretches.

"In addition, local snow accumulations of 3-6cm are likely on ground above 200m and perhaps up to 10cm on the highest routes above 300m in the west. On low ground 1-3cm may accumulate in places.

"Drivers are advised to take extra care on the roads and be aware of the risk of some minor travel disruption."

NI was warned to prepare for the risk of disruption to both transport and power supplies amid Wednesday's storms, after parts of the region awoke to a blanket of snow.

Red alerts were put in place across parts of the Republic of Ireland, Wales and England.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: "Police are advising motorists across the province to reduce their speed and exercise caution on the roads due to adverse weather conditions. There are a number of reports of fallen trees especially in the South Down and Armagh areas."

An ambulance carrying a patient was trapped for a time and after trees fell down in front of it and behind it along the Killyleagh Road in Co Down.

It later completed its journey from the Downe to the Ulster Hospital.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) warned of damage to the electricity network, especially in exposed southern and eastern locations.

An escalation plan was put in place with emergency crews, engineers and call handlers on stand-by - however the network was not damaged as had been feared.

A statement from NIE said: "Currently there is a normal level of faults on the NIE network with approximately 300 customers off supply across Northern Ireland. The winds did not reach the speeds predicted and have not caused the expected damage to the electricity network."

The Roads Service is advising motorists to drive with due caution, leave more time for journeys and, if possible, to use public transport instead.

Meanwhile the Strangford Ferry service has been postponed.

Warrenpoint in Co Down is among the hardest hit areas, with the Rostrevor Road closed because of the adverse weather conditions.

A large hole has opened up where part of the road has been washed away, exposing the underlying pipes and cables - including an 11,000 volts power line. Diversions are in place.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who was attending a business conference in west Belfast on Wednesday morning, spoke to UTV about the travel disruption he faced reaching his destination.

He explained that the road between Derry and Dungiven was "a nightmare" and took an hour to travel, adding in jest: "In fact, the Glenshane Pass was a gift compared to it.

"So when I go back to Stormont Castle, I'm going to ring up [ministers] Danny Kennedy and Mark Durkan to see what they're doing."

Across Wales and parts of England, a red alert - the highest available - is in place as winds of up to 100mph are expected.

A man in his 70s has died in Chippenham, Wiltshire, after he was believed to have been electrocuted while attempting to move a tree which brought down power cables.

The Thames River is expected to rise to its highest recorded level in more than 60 years.

Road conditions have been hazardous, with reports of lorries being blown over and trees falling across the paths of motorists.

One man in Devon had to be cut from beneath a fallen tree and taken to hospital.

Rail services have been badly hit - one train station in Crewe even lost its roof to the high winds. Virgin Trains was among the companies warning all customers to abandon their journeys.

"We are advising all customers not to attempt to travel. Customers already on services will be taken to the nearest station," they tweeted.

Prime Minister David Cameron has since announced that grants of £5000 will be available to better protect flood-hit property.

Thousands of military personnel have already been called in to assist with the relief effort.

In the Republic of Ireland, the highest alerts possible have also been put in place by Met Éireann.

Much of the country is under a red alert, while Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal are under amber alerts.

A satellite image showing conditions over NI and beyond.

© UTV News
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Comments Comments
2 Comments
geri in Lisburn wrote (261 days ago):
The wind and rain is wild here in Lisburn
La in La wrote (261 days ago):
Okay
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