Northern Ireland

Heavy rain causes flooding across Northern Ireland

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Media captionBridge Street in Newry has been badly affected, with cars under water

Heavy rain has caused flooding across various parts of Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Police described Newry in County Down as "impassable" on Thursday afternoon, with parts of Bridge Street under two to three feet of water.

Some homes in the city were evacuated.

A number of other roads have been closed, with the Lisburn and Moira areas particularly badly hit.

Rising water

The rain was accompanied by gales in places.

The weather front started to clear to the north on Thursday evening, however, a dual rain and wind warning has been issued for Friday morning.

Late on Thursday night, the Mayor of Newry Dáire Hughes said the council had expressed concern about the rising levels of water in front of Newry Town Hall.

He said that Newry Sport Centre has been deemed a "place of rescue", and evacuees would be catered for there if needed.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has activated an emergency scheme for householders affected by flooding.

"Individual householders who have suffered severe inconvenience can claim from their local council, £1,000 payment as an offer of practical assistance," he said.

"The payment is meant to ensure that homes are made habitable as quickly as possible. It is not a compensation payment.

"If you feel that you may be entitled to the payment, contact your council as soon as possible and they will arrange for an urgent inspection of your property.

"If the council decides that your claim is eligible, you will receive your payment within a matter of days."

Newry SDLP councillor John McArdle said he had never seen flooding as severe.

"You would think you were in Venice it's so bad. I've seen flooding here before, but nothing in comparison," he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Charlie Casey said that overloaded storm drains in Bridge Street in Newry and also in the Carnagat area had been the main cause of the flooding.

He said action had to be taken to ensure it did not happen again.

BBC Northern Ireland weatherman Geoff Maskell said there had been a "huge amount of rain".

A yellow weather warning had been upgraded to amber at about 14:00 GMT on Thursday.

He said the weather front had been delivering 6-7mm of rain per hour for three to four hours non-stop, on ground that was already wet.

Image caption Police go to the aid of a motorist in Newry
Image copyright kerri dunn
Image caption Castlereagh Road in Belfast is impasssable at Loopland Park
Image caption The rain has been accompanied by strong winds, as seen in Whitehead County Antrim
Image caption Flooding on Massey Avenue in Belfast
Image caption The River Lagan has burst its banks at Drumbeg, County Down

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