FLOODS of ‘biblical proportions’ left a number of roads across the Ards peninsula impassable after a weekend of heavy rainfall.

Wet weather over the weekend has been described as some of the ‘worst rain’ ever seen in the Ards peninsula.

The heavy rain, which followed two yellow weather warnings by the Met Office on Saturday and further amber warnings at the beginning of the week, caused a number of flooding incidents across the borough including impassable roads, damage to houses and a submerged play park.

Over 500 sand bags were given out to Ards peninsula residents who were experiencing flooding issues from containers located at Portavogie, Ballywalter and Portaferry. A fourth container is located at Groomsport.

The sandbag containers were then replenished by Ards and North Down Council officials on Monday, with local councillors reporting some properties were still suffering from the weekend’s heavy downpour.

The heavy rainfall caused the closure of the Portaferry Road, Kircubbin, at the junction of the Inishargey Road on Saturday and the PSNI advised road users to give extra caution due to the weather conditions.

Other roads were deemed impassable due to flooding such as Shore Road and Nuns Quarter in Kircubbin; Main Road, Portavogie; Ballygelagh Road, Ardkeen; Crossnamuckley Road, Newtownards; Moss Road, Millisle; parts of the Portaferry Road; and Six Road Ends to Four Road Ends, as well as numerous rural roads.

The impassable roads left some motorists stranded and needing to be towed home according to Strangford MP Jim Shannon.

The bad spell of weather also caused sea debris to spill out onto the roads in Ballyhalbert, also sparking some safety concerns.

The council activated its Emergency Plan over the weekend due to the inclement weather, working alongside a number of agencies including the PSNI, the Met Office, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, DFI Roads and DFI Rivers

Speaking about the devastation caused over the weekend, Ards and North Down councillor Robert Adair described the rainfall as the ‘worst’ he has ever seen in his lifetime.

The DUP councillor stated: “I have never seen the heavy rain as bad. My colleague, Davy Kerr and I, worked together on Saturday because it became clear that some people had no transport to get sandbags when their houses were flooding.”

Alongside volunteers, the DUP councillors worked to ensure those in need could access sandbags to prevent damage to homes and businesses.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to the local farming community. Many of them came to pump water away when the statutory agencies failed to come out,” Mr Adair continued, also adding thanks to Rivers Agency.

“A lot of people in the community volunteered from the local football teams and community groups to deliver sandbags to people.”

Mr Adair added: “The sandbag containers in Portavogie, Ballywalter and Portaferry have been lifelines to people and without them a lot more people would have suffered from the flooding and a lot more properties damaged.”

Mr Adair noted that there had been a ‘panic’ on Saturday as the rain got heavier and they couldn’t open the sandbag container in Portaferry, but this was quickly rectified.

“We really could have done with a few more sandbag container stations along the peninsula,” Mr Adair said.

While Mr Adair praised the work of the council throughout the weekend of bad weather, he stated that he believed other government agencies needed to ‘step up’.

“I think going forward, we need a more joined up approach with NI Waters, Rivers Agency, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and council.

Mr Adair paid special tribute to Jill Hunter for her hard work over the weekend.

Mr Shannon thanked the DfI and PSNI for their work over the weekend, however he called on the Road Service to carry out an ‘urgent gully cleaning’ exercise at flood points.

He noted how a ‘deep cleaning’ was needed to clear out any debris ‘clogging up the system’.

Residents can now avail of support from council officers in accessing funding under SEFA, the Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance, which aids householders who have suffered severe inconvenience as a result of internal flooding to their properties. 

More information about the scheme can be accessed at: