High tide passes amid flood alert

High tide passes amid flood alert

Large waves have battered parts of Northern Ireland as more tidal surges hit the coastline on Monday afternoon, affecting coastal roads.

The high tides and onshore winds that were forecast had the region braced for flooding, but the worst extreme conditions anticipated did not occur.Parts of the Ards Peninsula encountered the worst of the weather on Monday.Police say around 45,000 sandbags were used to bolster defences, protect key infrastructure sites and help to secure homes in at risk areas since the series of unprecedented tidal surges started last week.On Monday, precautions were taken along coastlines in Co Down and Co Antrim where emergency crews were on standby, while residents in parts of east Belfast again breathed a sigh of relief when the Connswater River at Victoria Park did not breach its banks."It looks as though today is the last big tide for the foreseeable future," John Wylie, from the Met Office, told UTV.After the tide peaked at around 2.45pm in Belfast, the City's Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir tweeted: "Looking positive, tide now turning, and won't rise above 4.5m. Well done (to) everyone who ensured city stayed dry and safe. Great work."Great work by all of the statutory agencies and the community in Sydenham. Thankfully the potential crisis did not materialise.— Peter Robinson (@DUPleader) January 6, 2014East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long expressed her thanks to all involved in the effort to prevent flooding in Sydenham."There was a huge amount of effort involved in Sydenham to get the area ready for a flood that luckily did not materialise. Although the worst-case scenario did not happen today or last Friday, I know the work that was undertaken was a huge reassurance to residents during what was a stressful time," she said.The east and docks area of Belfast had also been identified as at risk of flooding and there were reports of some surface flooding on the roads close to Belfast Harbour.The PSNI has co-ordinated the multi-agency response to the flood alert since it started last Thursday.Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, who was in charge of the operation, said: "The past few days have been extremely challenging and I'm relieved that the coastal flooding was not as severe as had been anticipated initially."I am pleased with how quickly agencies across Northern Ireland reacted to the emergency situation and formed a coordinated response team. We must always plan effectively to protect our communities, and thankfully on this occasion the worst did not happen.""I would like to thank everyone who worked together during this operation. There were over 40 public, private, voluntary and community organisations involved who ensured that we were well placed to deal with all eventualities," ACC Martin said.Conditions along the east coast remain hazardous. Police have warned the public to stay away from coastal paths and walkways and to drive with extreme caution.Pleased to have escaped the worst case scenario weather wise, precautions taken by PSNI,Depts & Local Govt to keep people safe justifiable.— Martin McGuinness (@M_McGuinness_SF) January 6, 2014In Co Antrim, police continue to advise motorists to avoid the Coast Road from Larne to Carnlough.The A2 Coast Road through Carnlough village has been reopened. A section of the Coast Road between Drains Bay and Ballygally was also closed for a time, but is now opened and is passable with caution.In Co Down, part of the Portaferry Road along the Ards Peninsula was under standing water on Sunday and police have advised motorists travelling along the road from to Newtownards and Belfast not to use any car park along the route due to the risk of flooding."Drivers are also advised to proceed with caution as there may be debris swept onto the road by the sea as well as standing water," a police spokesperson said.The road has temporary traffic lights in operation just outside Greyabbey due to undermining of carriageway.Part of the A2 Minorstown Road, Killough between Ardglass and Dundrum is closed between Bright Road and Ballylig Road. The A2 Station Road and Fishersmans Row are also closed but are expected to re-open at 5.30pm.The Whitechurch Road is closed in Ballywalter after the road collapsed during Friday's storm.A Roads Service spokesperson said the necessary emergency repairs to reinstate these roads will take some time to complete and the traffic restrictions will be in place throughout.In Holywood the Esplanade at the A2 Belfast Road Bypass has been closed due to flooding. Motorists should seek an alternative route for their journey.In South Down, the seafront at the promenade in Newcastle is closed to the public due to adverse weather conditions.In Coleraine, Co Londonderry, police urged anyone parked in the Hanover Place area to remove their vehicle as the area is at risk from flooding.The weather has been extreme across the UK and the Republic of Ireland in recent weeks.The Met Office says Northern Ireland has escaped the worst of the unprecedented spell.John Wylie said: "The wind direction has just about favoured us a little more than perhaps the coasts of Scotland and North West England. It has been a little bit more south-westerly in the flow. That gives us just a little bit of shelter."But you only have to look at the damage that has been caused around the coast, the huge over-topping waves that there has been, and that we've had a really close call indeed from something major."Sandbag collection sites have been closed and details on how to store or dispose of sandbags can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk.You can upload your weather pictures to our gallery, tweet them to us @utv or email video footage to news@u.tv - take care when trying to capture pictures or videos and make sure it's safe to do so.

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