4,000 HOMES WITHOUT POWER AS WIND AND RAIN BATTER NI

A tree has been felled in the gusting winds at the Markets in south Belfast

A tree has been felled in the gusting winds in the Markets district of south Belfast

GUSTING wind and rain have brought down powerlines leaving around 4,000 customers without electricity.

Roads have also been closed, ferry sailings have been cancelled and flights have either been delayed or diverted.

The winds overnight reached up to 90 mph in parts.

As dawn broke, the winds had died down to 75 mph gusts but had left a trail of destruction in its wake, felling trees and power cables.

All main roads are open but at one point a tree had fallen on the city bound carriage of the M2 from Ballymena to Belfast.

Highway maintenance teams battled the winds and rain to remove the debris from the outer lane.

At one point almost 25,000 homes were left without power.

However, Northern Ireland Electricity says engineers have restored power to 20,000 customers overnight.

P&O cancelled its 7.30 am ferry crossing from Larne to Cairnryan in both directions.

Stena Line also cancelled itsĀ 10.30 am sailing from Belfast to Liverpool.

Julia Carson, NIE communications manager, said: “We were in regular contact with the Met Office and had mobilised NIE emergency crews, engineers and call handlers in preparation for any damage the severe weather may cause.

“We have already restored power to 20,000 customers overnight and are continuing to assess the damage and carry out repairs.

“As the weather conditions are set to continue there may be some areas where we will need to wait for the high winds to abate to allow our emergency crews to work safely.”

Customers who lose electricity should call the NIE customer helpline on 08457 643643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk.

There were some flight diversions from Belfast City Airport to Belfast International Airport on Thursday night, and passengers at both airports are advised to check their flight details on Friday.

A Ryanair flight from Edi to Dublin has been diverted to Belfast International Airport (BIA).

A number of roads have been closed across the province due to fallen debris caused by strong winds:

Gracefield Road, Magherafelt; Drumlee Road, Benburb;

Ballygittle Road, Stewartstown; Drumlough Road between Rathfriland and Mayobridge;

A25 Strangford Road, Downpatrick closed between the Mearne Road and the Saul Mills Road;

C275 Derryboye Road, Crossgar, closed between Manse Road and Ballyalgan Road;

Belfast Road, Newtownards;

C345 Ardbrin Road, Katesbridge;

C328 Gall Bog Road, Banbridge;

U4224 Bannview Road, Banbridge;

Dunkirk Road, Waringstown;

Drumnabreeze Road, Magheralin;

Clare Road between Waringstown and Gilford;

Upper Malone Road, Belfast, near Drumbeg Church;

A50 Ballyward Road near Ballyward;

Mullahead Road, Portadown;

B7 Ballyroney Road, Banbridge.

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