Storm Francis: Flooding and fallen trees cause disruption across NI

Police have warned motorists to exercise caution as Storm Francis causes flooding and fallen trees across Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 10:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 3:05 pm
Storm Francis: Emergency services attend flooding in Bryansford Avenue, Newcastle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Drivers are advised to avoid Brewery Lane in Donaghmore where an electric line has come down and is lying on the road. Partner agencies have been tasked to remove the line. In the meantime, drivers should find an alternative route, if possible.

The Drum Road in Cookstown, close to the Teebane crossroads, is also impassable due to flooding and drivers are urged to avoid the area and find an alternative route.

The Shimna river in Newcastle has burst its banks and the Shimna Road is now flooded. There are numerous reports of severe flooding across the town.

Storm Francis: In West Belfast a fallen tree blocked Belfast bound lanes from Creightons Road onto Old Golf course Road before it was removed. Photo: PSNI.

In West Belfast a fallen tree blocked Belfast bound lanes from Creightons Road onto Old Golf course Road but was later removed.

Ballyhanwood Road in Dundonald is also closed between Old Dundonald Road and Gilnahirk Road because of a fallen tree.

There is substantial flooding on the Upper Malone Road close to Lady Dixon Park.

It is also reported that a fallen tree is causing disruption in Straid, Co Antrim.

Emergency services attend flooding in Bryansford Avenue Newcastle. Heavy downpours and flooding this morning have caused disruption across Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The Movilla Road in Newtownards is passable, but with care. If possible, drivers should find an alternative route.

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of two sailors whose 36ft yacht got into difficulty on Strangford Lough this morning.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 9.55am following a report from Belfast Coastguard that a 36ft yacht with two people onboard was dragging its anchor and drifting towards the shore.

Weather conditions at the time were poor with heavy rain, a south easterly Force 7 wind and a choppy sea.

Roads flooded as Storm Francis hits across Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker Press

The Fire Service said it is currently dealing with significant flooding in the Bryansford Avenue of Newcastle. Its Specialist Rescue Team, Flood Response Teams and local Crews have rescued a number of people from their homes and the response is ongoing.

“Our Flood Response Team and 2 Fire Crews are also in attendance at a flooding incident in Maghera to help rescue a number of people who are trapped in their home,” the Fire Service said in a statement.

“We are reminding the public that in the event of serious flooding to phone the NI Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100. If there is a risk to life dial 999 immediately and we will respond.”

The Department of Infrastructure said that it has deployed multi-agency teams to help the public in Newcastle.

Cars struggle to cope with heavy rain brought by Storm Francis in Belfast: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker Press

Throughout Northern Ireland the Department’s operational teams continue to clear essential infrastructure to reduce the risk of flooding to homes, it said.

“A warning for heavy rain and wind remains in place for today until 6am tomorrow (Wednesday) and it is possible this could lead to debris on the road, fallen trees and spray or large waves on coastal routes. If your journey is essential, reduce your speed, stay well behind the vehicle in front, remain focused and always wear your seat belt.”

Traffic information can be found at www.trafficwatchni.com

To report incidents of flooding, please contact the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100. Calls taken by the incident line staff are passed to the relevant responding Agency.

The Met Office has issued a yellow-level rainfall warning for Northern Ireland as Storm Francis batters the UK.

The main hazard for Northern Ireland is heavy rain from midnight on Monday to 6am on Wednesday, with heavy rain expected to lift river levels and possible flooding in some areas.

This could lead to road closures, delays to transport, difficult driving conditions and potential damage to some homes and businesses.

Strong winds are also forecast with gusts of 50mph at times.

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