Travel disruption as Storm Hector leaves debris trail

BBC News
NIE 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 will ease off into the afternoon.

Met √Čireann said "severe and damaging gusts" hit the Republic of Ireland's coastal counties before moving west.

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

  • All ferry sailings between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle have been cancelled
  • The A30 Glenavy Road remains closed between Hungry House Lane and Whinney Hill due to a fallen tree and a power line - 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
  • In Newtownabbey, County Antrim, the M5 between J2 Greencastle and Rushpark roundabout is now clear
  • The Tullycullon Road near Dungannon is closed due to a fallen tree between Doanghamore and A29 Cookstown Road
  • In Lurgan, Craigavon, the Silverwood Rd is partially blocked by debris
  • In Lisburn, the Ballinderry road is closed due to fallen trees
  • Kilmegan Road in Dundrum, County Down, is blocked by a fallen tree and BT line
  • In Portaferry, the Portaferry Road is blocked towards Ards just past Ards Yacht Club
  • The Portaferry Road and Cunningburn Road in Newtownards have now re-opened
  • The rail line between Antrim and Ballymena has been cleared and train services are now running on time

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.

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.

#CoLondonderry - Foyle Bridge #Derry NOW RE-OPENED just a few minutes ago (07:53)

End of Twitter post by @TrafficwatchNI

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.