Northern Ireland news

Storm Eleanor hits Ireland leaving thousands without power

Flooding on the streets of Galway city
Brendan Hughes

THOUSANDS of homes have been left without power and cars were swept away in flash flooding as Ireland is battered by Storm Eleanor.

Northern Ireland Electricity said 21,000 homes are without power, while in the south at least 50,000 ESB customers suffered power cuts, with counties Mayo, Galway and Leitrim the worst affected.

Weather warnings have been issued for the north and south of Ireland and most of Britain as winds are expected to reach 80mph overnight.

And the Met Office warned that flying debris and large waves could cause a risk of injuries and endanger lives.

Several homes, businesses and the city fire station were flooded in Galway as high tides caused extensive disruption that saw roads around the docks submerged.

Some cars were also swept away by flash floods at Oranmore in Co Galway.

People were evacuated from vehicles at a roundabout into a shopping centre in the village after swells submerged the road just before 6pm on Tuesday.

There have also been reports of trees down in areas across Northern Ireland, including Co Fermanagh, Malone Road in south Belfast, and one blocking a lane of the A1 near the Outlet shopping centre.

An electric pole toppled at Annagh Bridge in Portadown, and a cable was down on Old Newry Road in Banbridge.

Three scheduled Irish Premiership football matches were also abandoned.

The PSNI warned motorists to drive carefully, be aware of road conditions, and avoid travelling "unless it is absolutely necessary".

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for overnight until 6pm on Wednesday covering most of Northern Ireland, as well as Wales, England, and parts of Scotland.

There will be a risk of "injuries and danger to life" from flying debris and large waves along western coasts, the warning said.

An amber warning was also issued for parts of Northern Ireland and northern England as well as southern fringes of Scotland covering overnight until 4am on Wednesday.

Meteorologist Emma Sharples said: "There is likely to be some disruption possibly to public transport, bridges and other public services such as mobile phones and people need to be aware that there could be debris as well."

The Met Office said: "Some disruption to road, rail and air travel is likely and ferry services may be affected.

"There is a good chance that power cuts may occur with mobile phone coverage perhaps affected.

"Along west-facing coasts, injuries and danger to life is likely from large waves and beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, seafronts and properties."

In the Republic, Met Éireann issued two Status Orange warnings and road users were urged to travel with care.

The Road Safety Authority warned motorists and pedestrians to be aware of falling debris, and said that high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists were particularly vulnerable to strong winds.

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