Shopfronts collapse in high winds of Storm Dennis

  • Published
Front of shops showing storm damage

An east Belfast businessman has said it is lucky no-one was injured after parts of a number of shopfronts collapsed during Storm Dennis.

Several businesses on Gilnahirk Road were substantially damaged by high winds on Sunday afternoon.

While other parts of the UK have faced the brunt of the storm, NI has been under a Met Office yellow weather warning since 10:00 GMT on Sunday.

It will remain in place until late on Monday morning.

Aidan Murphy, who owns one of the businesses that was damaged, said: "The fortunate part is that it happened on a Sunday and not on a Saturday, which would be the busiest day of the week.

"As you can see from the damage, someone could have been killed with that level of damage coming down from the top of the shops.

"It looks like we probably won't be open next week. It'll be a case of calling the landlord and calling the insurers and see what happens after that.

"For us, it's a case of the unknown at this stage."

BBC News NI reporter Richard Morgan, who went to the scene, said the incident appeared to have happened without warning.

"One woman, I've been speaking to, said she walked along here just seconds before, and got into her car. She was visibly shaken and says she had a lucky escape."

Alliance leader Naomi Long said on Twitter: "Shocking damage inflicted by #StormDennis on shops at Gilnahirk Rd. Fortunate no-one was seriously injured or worse by collapse of masonry façades.

"Colleagues will be working to ensure traders have support required."

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland's weather service, Met Éireann, has issued a Status Orange wind warning for nine counties.

The warning covers Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. It will now remain in place until Monday morning.

Thousands of homes, farms and businesses have been left without power in the Republic of Ireland - about 18,000 premises were without electricity earlier on Sunday.

An 80-metre cargo ship, which had been abandoned and adrift in the Atlantic for more than a year, has run aground near Ballycotton in east Cork.

Storm Dennis descended on the UK on Saturday, bringing a month's worth of rainfall to some of the worst-hit areas.

Media caption,

The latest weather forecast for Northern Ireland

The Army was deployed to help with flood relief in some areas with severe disruption to road, rail and air travel.

On Sunday major incidents were declared in south Wales and parts of England, as Storm Dennis continues to batter the UK.

Dyfed Powys Police said a man had been found dead after falling into the River Tawe, while South Wales Police said it was dealing with "multiple" landslides and floods - some trapping residents.

Disruption has been much less severe in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Infrastructure in Northern Ireland has said that multi-agency partners stand ready to respond to disruption and instances of flooding.

In Londonderry, high-sided vehicles are barred from using the Foyle Bridge while all other vehicles must keep to a 30mph maximum speed limit.

Road users have been advised to check the latest traffic information on the Trafficwatch website.

If you are affected by flooding, then it can be reported to the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100. You can also check information on flooding in your area via the NI Direct website.

Storm Dennis was the fourth locally-named storm of the winter season after Storm Atiyah in December, Storm Brendan last month and Storm Ciara earlier in February.