Travel disruption as Storm Hector leaves debris trail

The Aghanloo Road in Limavady was blocked by a fallen tree on Thursday morning
Image caption Hector is the eighth named storm of 2017-2018

Storm Hector is causing travel disruption across Northern Ireland, as strong winds brought down trees overnight.

Gusts in Belfast reached 60mph.

The Met Office said gales in Northern Ireland would continue on Thursday morning, but these will ease off into the afternoon.

Met √Čireann said “severe and potentially damaging gusts” would hit the Republic of Ireland’s coastal counties before winds move west.

Image copyright MET OFFICE

On the roads, the storm has caused traffic disruption in towns and cities across Northern Ireland:

  • In Newtownabbey, the M5 between J2 Greencastle and Rushpark Roundabout is now clear
  • The A30 Glenavy Road remains closed between Hungry House Lane and Whinney Hill due to a fallen tree and a powerline – diversions are in place
  • In Bangor, North Down, the Rathgael Road remains closed due to a fallen tree and powerline – this is likely to take time to clear
  • New Line in Ballyclare near Woodsides is blocked by a fallen tree but is passable with care
  • The Tullycullon Road near Dungannon is closed due to a fallen tree between Doanghamore and A29 Cookstown Road
  • In Gilford, Craigavon, the Moyallan Rd is closed due to a fallen tree
  • In Lurgan, Craigavon, the Silverwood Rd is partially blocked by debris
  • The rail line between Antrim and Ballymena is blocked due to fallen trees, so major disruption is expected to services on Thursday morning. Passengers are advised to use alternative transport means if possible, however rail tickets will be accepted on bus services along the Londonderry line

A yellow wind warning for Northern Ireland is in place until 15:00 BST on Thursday.

‘Weather warning continues into afternoon’

By Angie Philips

Storm Hector, an unseasonably deep low for the time of year, has been moving past the northwest of Britain and Ireland and producing some very lively gusts of wind.

Even inland, gusts have widely been reaching 40-50mph, but the strongest winds have mostly been towards the north and west and exposed parts of the east coast with the peak of the winds on Thursday morning.

The highest gust recorded was 74mph at Orlock Head, North Down at 08:00 BST, followed by 69mph at Ballypatrick Forest, North Antrim, at 06:00 BST.

The amber ‘be prepared’ warning lapsed at 09:00 BST, but still a yellow ‘be aware’ warning remains in place into the afternoon.

There is already a lot of debris and many trees are down, and there could still be some disruption with gale or severe gale force gusts.

The wind will gradually ease through the day, but it will still be blustery with bright spells and showers.

The storm has also affected power lines – the worst affected areas are Craigavon, Newry, Omagh and Campsey.

Image copyright NIE
Image caption An NIE map shows the main areas affected by electrical power shortages due to the storm

NIE said 23,000 homes have been without power, however 18,355 were restored by 09:00 BST on Thursday.

In a statement, it said all NIE teams are working to restore power to the remaining 4950 homes. It added that overhead lines and fallen trees and branches are the main issues affecting power.

Faults can be reported on the customer helpline – 03457 643 643.

Hector is the eighth named storm of 2017-2018, coming in the aftermath of Aileen in September, Brian in October, Caroline and Dylan in December and Eleanor, Fionn and Georgina in January.



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