Northern Ireland news

Gallery: Country left counting cost of Storm Eleanor

A tree landed on a car outside Simon Irwin's home in south Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Suzanne McGonagle and PA

A MAJOR clear-up operation was continuing last night after Storm Eleanor unleashed violent winds of up to 100mph.

Homes and businesses were left counting the cost after gales tore a destructive trail across many parts and plunged thousands of homes into darkness.

More than 25,000 customers in the north were without power as the Atlantic storm swept in, destroying property and damaging the road network.

The winds ripped off part of the roof of a building owned by Harland and Wolff in east Belfast and fallen trees and power lines blocked several routes.

Among those affected was Belfast man Simon Irwin, who described how a tree landed on his partner's car outside their Belfast home.

Mr Irwin was inside the property in Chippendale Court, close to Finaghy Road South, when the large 'protected tree' fell.

"My partner was out at netball and I was sitting in the living room when I heard the bang," he said.

Waves crash against the sea wall in Aberystwyth in west Wales as Storm Eleanor hits the UK causing power cuts and road disruption. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 3, 2018. See PA story WEATHER Gales. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

"I thought it was thunder and lightning to be honest and was only when I looked outside I saw what had happened.

"It could have killed somebody, no doubt about it.

"It also knocked off some of my roof tiles and the rain was coming in. But it could have so much worse."

Ulster Unionist assembly member John Stewart was also among those caught up in Storm Eleanor, with flying roof tiles smashing into his car in Carrickfergus.

"Just lost the rear window of my car to flying roof tiles. Please be so careful out there tonight and take any safety precautions you can," he said.

"Thankfully no-one was about at the time, could have been a lot worse."

With high winds gusting across the north, among the buildings to be damaged was a factory owned by Harland and Wolff, with a large chunk of the roof ripped off.

 A sizeable chunk of a factory roof at Harland and Wolff has been ripped off by Storm Eleanor. Picture by Paul Semple @paulsemps75.
 

The mammoth mobile building was not in use at the time and a spokesman said the damage affected the outer skin of the roof.

More than 25,000 customers in the north were without power as the storm took hold on Tuesday. NIE said the vast majority were reconnected by yesterday afternoon as engineers continued to repair damage throughout the day.

Les Drew from NIE said the storm caused significant damage to trees, affecting overhead power lines.

Wind gusted to 70 or 80mph and Mr Drew said staff had to work in atrocious and dangerous conditions to repair poles and lines.

In Derry, the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge and the Duke Street underpass were affected by flooding, while all ferry sailings between Rathlin and Ballycastle were cancelled.

South of the border, around 55,000 properties suffered power outages with the worst affected counties including Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

Met Eireann issued its second highest alert forecast and high waves battered the coastline, causing widespread flooding.

Flood water in a coastal car park in Salthill, Galway, as Storm Eleanor lashed the UK and Ireland with violent storm-force winds of up to 100mph, leaving thousands of homes without power and hitting transport links. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 3, 2018. Widespread disruption is expected on Wednesday after the storm swept across the country overnight carrying heavy rain, hail and dramatic thunder and lightning. See PA story WEATHER Gales Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Pictures from Galway on Tuesday showed cars ploughing through high water and business owners struggling to protect their properties.

Rescuers waded through knee-high water with flooding also hitting Salthill, Oranmore and Clarinbridge.

Cork City Council last night warned of a risk of flooding in parts of the city centre with high tides and potentially high winds expected.

The National Emergency Co-ordination Group in the Republic met to review the situation.

There was also significant disruption across England, Scotland and Wales with falling trees causing minor injuries, road closures and delays on public transport.

Abandoned cars in a flooded car park in Galway city centre, as Storm Eleanor lashed the UK and Ireland. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA

Police in east Sussex recovered a body from the sea near Splash Point in Seaford. The remains were spotted in the water at around 8am yesterday.

Scottish and English provider SSE restored power to 18,000 homes after outages and there was significant coastal flooding in Scotland.

A pregnant woman who had gone into labour early was also flown to hospital by helicopter as the storm began whipping across mid-Wales.

Despite powerful winds, the expectant mother was collected from a makeshift landing site at the coastal town of Tywyn on Tuesday evening by the coastguard helicopter and rushed to a neonatal unit in Rhyl, more than 60 miles away.

The scene in Fortwilliam Park, north Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

A large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

A large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

NIE engineers test downed electricity cables after a large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

Trees after Storm Eleanor battered the country overnight.the scene in Fortwilliam Park, north Belfast outside his home Hugh ADams Picture by Hugh Russell.

A tree blocks the footpath on the Ormeau Embankment after Storm Eleanor Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

NIE engineers test downed electricity cables after a large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

Hugh Adams as Trees fell down in Fortwilliam Park, north Belfast outside his home Picture by Hugh Russell.

Hugh Adams as Trees fell down in Fortwilliam Park, north Belfast outside his home Picture by Hugh Russell.

A partially collapsed harbour wall in Portreath, Cornwall, as Storm Eleanor lashed the UK with violent storm-force winds of up to 100mph, leaving thousands of homes without power and hitting transport links. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 3, 2018. See PA story WEATHER Gales. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Hugh Adams as Trees fell down in Fortwilliam Park, north Belfast outside his home Picture by Hugh Russell.

People walk past downed electricity cables after large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

People walk past downed electricity cables after large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

A tree landed on the car outside Simon Irwin's home in south Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

Hugh Adams as Trees fell down in Fortwilliam Park, north Belfast outside his home Picture by Hugh Russell.

A tree blocks the footpath on the Ormeau Embankment after Storm Eleanor Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

A large tree pulled down power lines and caused damage to homes in New Forge Lane in south Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 2-1-2018A chimney was brought down by high winds in University Street in South Belfast tonight as Storm Eleanor was battering Northern Ireland with trees down and power custs across the country as winds of up to 90mph brought very dangerous driving conditions with the police advising no-one to travel unless their journey was absolutely essential.

Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 2-1-2018A police land Rover tries to nudge a huge tree off the Malone Road in South Belfast tonight as Storm Eleanor was battering Northern Ireland with trees down and power custs across the country as winds of up to 90mph brought very dangerous driving conditions with the police advising no-one to travel unless their journey was absolutely essential.The attemppt to move the tree and at least clear one lane was unsuccessful.

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