Storm Hector: Rush hour travel chaos - road closures and fallen trees

Strong winds are causing travel disruption across Northern Ireland this morning as Storm Hector moves in.

Thursday, 14th June 2018, 9:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:47 pm

Forecasters have warned that gusts up to 70mph will be possible, with an amber warning in place from 4am-9am today.

Fallen trees and power lines are leading to delays for motorists across the Province, and Translink has also warned that major disruption to services is expected to due to debris.

The Met Office said injuries and a danger to life is “likely” in coastal areas in Northern Ireland, with the chance of large waves and potential for beach debris to end up on roads, sea fronts and properties.

Trafficwatch NI has tweeted a series of alerts for drivers this morning, including:

• A50 Moyallan Road between Gilford and Lurgan Road roundabout closed due to fallen trees

• #Newtownabbey 2 trees down M5 out town J2 Greencastle & Rushpark R`bout - on live traffic lane 1

• #EastBelfast tree causing obstruction Old Holywood Road

A fallen tree on the Glenavy Road near Lisburn blocks the road causing diversions for drivers as Storm Hector batters Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

• A26 Glenavy Rd - CLOSED btw Hungry House Lane & Whinney Hill due to a fallen tree and a powerline - diversions in place - going to take time to clear.

The Foyle Bridge in Londonderry was also closed for a time due to the high winds but has now reopened.

Elsewhere, the adverse conditions are also causing disruption at Belfast Harbour, which tweeted: “Due to exceptionally high winds this morning the Eclipse won’t call in #Belfast today. We are monitoring the weather and hoping the Nautica will berth around 10.30am.”

Much of Britain is covered by a yellow warning, but the north and west of Northern Ireland is now subject to a more serious amber warning.

The warning was issued by the Met Office on Wednesday evening.

People have been advised to take care during rush hour with potential disruption due to fallen trees and the possibility that outdoor summer furniture will have been blown around overnight.

The storm, bringing wet as well as windy weather, will move across Scotland and the north of England throughout the morning, and the yellow warning remains in place until 3pm.

The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex’s first engagement together - opening Cheshire’s Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Storyhouse Theatre - may be hit by strong gusts, with winds of 60mph forecast for the north of England.

Such stormy weather is “quite unusual for this time of year” forecaster Luke Miall said.

“The worst of the weather is going to be in the morning rush hour for most people,” he said.

“The storm is likely to clear to the north east around lunchtime or just after 1pm.”

Southern England and Wales are likely to escape the worst of the windy weather, he added.

Anyone who needs to report a fallen tree or any other obstruction on a road or street can do so online, or phone the Department for Infrastructure on 0300 200 7891.