Homes without power as storm batters borough

A tarmac tipper lorry was destroyed when a tree was blown down onto the cab as it sat parked in Derryclone Gardens in the Rectory Park Estate as Storm Eleanor struck on Tuesday evening. INPT01-205.
A tarmac tipper lorry was destroyed when a tree was blown down onto the cab as it sat parked in Derryclone Gardens in the Rectory Park Estate as Storm Eleanor struck on Tuesday evening. INPT01-205.
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Local businesses are counting the costs of damage after Storm Eleanor brought down electricity lines and trees across the area.

Roads were closed due to felled trees, traffic lights were out and a number of businesses, including Tesco Craigavon, were without power as 90mph winds battered Portadown.

An 8 foot high wall which has stood for 45 years was reduced to rubble on Tuesday evening as Storm Eleanor struck. The wall in Ballyoran Park came tumbling down early on Tuesday evening blocking an alleyway with rubble and spilling into the garden of an adjacent house, burying a garden fence in the process. INPT01-210.

An 8 foot high wall which has stood for 45 years was reduced to rubble on Tuesday evening as Storm Eleanor struck. The wall in Ballyoran Park came tumbling down early on Tuesday evening blocking an alleyway with rubble and spilling into the garden of an adjacent house, burying a garden fence in the process. INPT01-210.

One local man has been left without his business after his tarmac tripper lorry had to be written off when the cab was destroyed by a falling tree.

Geordie Trimble’s truck had been parked in Derryclone Gardens in the Rectory Park estate when the tree smashed into it on Tuesday evening.

Speaking on Wednesday he said: “A tree blew down on top of the cab and wrecked the cab of the lorry.

“It was parked in the square, a tree came down and just wrote it off.

A tarmac tipper lorry was destroyed when a tree was blown down onto the cab as it sat parked in Derryclone Gardens in the Rectory Park Estate as Storm Eleanor struck on Tuesday evening. INPT01-207.

A tarmac tipper lorry was destroyed when a tree was blown down onto the cab as it sat parked in Derryclone Gardens in the Rectory Park Estate as Storm Eleanor struck on Tuesday evening. INPT01-207.

“A neighbour came down last night about quarter past eight, she says there’s a branch across your lorry. I went out and it was the whole tree.

“I’m out of work, that’s the height of it. I can’t do anything until I see what the insurance are going to do, then try and get a lorry somewhere.

“I’m out of business until I get another lorry out on the road. At least there was nobody hurt, that’s the main thing.”

An eight foot high wall which has stood for 45 years in Ballyoran Park came crashing down, blocking an alleyway with rubble and burying a garden fence.

Whilst traffic lights at the junction of Northway and High Street were out for a period of time but are now operational again.

NIE engineers worked through the night to restore power to the effected areas, these areas included Tandragee, Gilford and Bleary.

A number of trees came down in the high winds - including four along the Gilford Road/Moyallon Road. Shutters were damaged at some town centre businesses as a result of the storm.

SDLP Councillor John Creaney praised the response of the emergency services and the utilities staff in dealing with the problems caused by the storm.

Mr Creaney said that he had been out and about handing out hot water to parents with young babies so that they would be able to feed them during the night.

He said: “I was inundated by messages via Facebook, where people were updating me of issues which I was passing on to roads service. Storm Ophelia was minor compared to this, I think they were more prepared for Ophelia than they were for this. When I was out and about delivering the hot water, there was a lot of trampolines in places they shouldn’t have been.

“I think the emergency services have done a wonderful job considering the minimum resources and staffing levels they have. There was a lot of power out, they worked quite well to restore power in quite a number of areas that were having blackouts, within the hour.

“I think there needs to be more measures put in place by Stormont, whenever it gets off the ground.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie told the Times that the hard work and dedication of the response teams helped to soften the blow of the problems caused.

Mr Beattie said: “My personal experience, our electric went off just after nine o’clock and it was restored in just over two hours, I think that’s exceptional work.

“I was also incredibly impressed by the work of the police, many of the officers who stayed on shift when they were supposed to come off shift. They were monitoring roads, particularly the Gilford Road that was blocked severely in both directions and I think they worked exceptionally well.

“I get the sense that our local services, our road services, our local councillors have worked incredibly hard to mitigate the effects, we are still in clean up now but right at this moment I am not getting many calls for assistance.

“The dedication of these teams has certainly softened the blow of what happened, it’s difficult to stop forces of nature and there was damage and outages, roads closed and fences ripped down.

“I think our emergency services worked exceptionally well in dealing with this, many people in the Upper Bann area will be thankful that they did.”