Severe NI weather leads to travel disruption

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Part of the road between Warrenpoint and Rostrevor in County Down has collapsed
Image caption,
Part of the road between Warrenpoint and Rostrevor in County Down has collapsed

Strong winds of up to 80mph have been battering Northern Ireland causing travel disruption for many people.

An amber weather warning is in place - the second highest of the severe weather alerts.

Many flights have been delayed or cancelled, ferries have been disrupted and there are reports of fallen trees blocking roads.

At one point, 1,500 customers were without electricity in parts of County Down, but most are now back on supply.

On Wednesday night, a spokeswoman for NIE said the winds had not caused the expected damage to the power network.

In the Republic of Ireland, Shannon airport was closed and, at the height of the storm, about 200,000 electricity customers lost power.

There were reports that gusts of 100mph (160km/h) were recorded at Shannon Airport and Waterford Airport recorded winds of 93mph (150km/h).

Belfast International Airport has been receiving flights that have been diverted from Dublin airport due to the storms.

Meanwhile, part of the road between Warrenpoint and Rostrevor in County Down has collapsed.

Media caption,

Strong winds tore the roof of Limerick Boat Club in the Republic of Ireland

The public transport company, Translink, said the collapse had affected its Ulsterbus Service 39 between Newry and Kilkeel, which has been diverted through Mayobridge and Hilltown.

Police asked drivers intending to use the Rostrevor Road to take an alternative route.

The police said the road would be closed for at least 72 hours.

SDLP councillor Connaire McGreevy has called for a safety review after the incident.

"My fear, and I have made this point on a number of occasions, is that the collapse of the wall is an indication of something much more serious in terms of the entire road system," he said.

A number of sailings between Dublin and Liverpool have also cancelled.

Image source, lynne gardiner
Image caption,
Snow also fell in Portstewart, County Londonderry

The latest winds came after reports of heavy snow in parts of County Londonderry in the morning, including areas of Tobermore, Draperstown and Maghera.

The Roads Service said it used snow ploughs to keep some routes clear and had gritted the main roads.

Some Ulsterbus services in Derry, Strabane, Coleraine, Omagh and Larne were subject to changes and cancellations.

Passengers have been urged to check Translink's Ulsterbus website for the latest travel updates while NIE's customer helpline is 08457 643 643.

Image source, vincent bradley
Image caption,
The snow started falling late on Tuesday night in Dungiven, County Londonderry.

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