Weather misery as Storm Frank blasts into town


Storm Frank has caused another round of strong winds and flooding rain that has blasted the town for the past 24hours.

A number of roads were closed due to storm damage and flooding.

On Wednesday drivers on the Markethill Road found themselves stuck in flood water. The A50 Banbridge Road, near Gilford, was blocked at several places due to fallen trees. Billboard posters were blown off walls and strewn across Craigwell Avenue and the River Bann was running high.

A spokesperson for Rivers Agency said it had been liaising closely with the local Council and other Government bodies to monitor the level of the River Bann but rainfall was not expected to increase flood risk in the area.

Following an amber weather warning from the Met office the Department of Regional Development announced that agencies were on high alert ready to respond to flooding -

Flooding Minister Michelle O’Neill advised emergency flood responders to be on high alert.

The combination of high winds and heavy rain was expected to bring medium levels of disruption from 9pm Wednesday to 7am Thursday morning.

The Minister said her Rivers Agency staff were ready to respond to requests for assistance, with many coming off their Christmas holidays to help.

Minister O’Neill said: “Rivers Agency staff had been working around the clock with other emergency responders to ensure that government provided as good a service as possible for those that need help.

“Our engineers and technical staff were on the ground checking river levels, clearing drainage grilles and checking sandbag stores.We’ve been doing all we can to mitigate the risk.”