Thousands without power after Isha blows through

storm isha


THOUSANDS of homes across the borough were left without electricity following the arrival of Storm Isha earlier this week.

Ards and North Down residents were among the 40,000 homes across Northern Ireland estimated to have been left without power on Monday morning as a result of strong winds blown in by Storm Isha.

It is estimated that around 5,000 homes were left without power in the wider Bangor area, according to Northern Ireland Electric (NIE).

NIE stated that engineers and emergency crews had been deployed to restore power to as many homes as they could.

The storm, which arrived on Sunday morning, wreaked havoc across the borough, causing a number of road closures due to fallen trees and downed powerlines.

Affected road closures on Sunday night included the Belfast Road and My Lady’s Mile in Holywood; Killinchy Road and Tullynagee Road in Comber; Movilla Road, Groomsport; Grays Hill and Gransha Road, Bangor; Shanes Road, Killyleagh and Portaferry Road, Newtownards.

Road users were also cautioned to take care driving after traffic signals failed at the junction of the A2 Belfast Road in Bangor during the storm.

Translink warned commuters taking the Portadown to Bangor train line of possible delays on Monday caused by a fallen tree.

The adverse weather also forced the closure of West Winds Primary School in Newtownards due to loss of electricity and heat, while Killinchy Primary School was also closed according to reports because of a power outage.

Sea defence walls located in Portaferry took a battering from the fierce storm on Sunday night.

“Once again the shore wall, located at the Lough Shore Road, Portaferry, has suffered further damage and continues to suffer on a regular basis during these inclement weather conditions,” said local councillor Joe Boyle.

“The Department for Infrastructure responded promptly and efficiently to this particular issue, something we are all appreciative of. There are, however, many other infrastructure related concerns that require significant investment.” 

The SDLP councillor added: “I would place on record, on behalf of the residents in the Ards Peninsula, our gratitude and appreciation for all the excellent work they perform during periods similar to this. Some of the situations they find themselves dealing with are challenging and dangerous and we all appreciate and are grateful for their services.”

In Carrowdore, the local EuroSpar was unable to sell fuel on Monday morning due to damage caused to the canopy covering the shop’s forecourt.

While some flights and ferry sailings were cancelled during the peak of the storm, one ferry, the Stena Estrid, due to arrive in Belfast from Birkenhead at 6.30pm, was unable to dock ‘due to adverse weather conditions’ and remained stuck in the Irish Sea off the County Down Coast for hours on Sunday.

The vessel was forced to circle the Irish Sea, rocked by rough tides and high winds, until it was deemed safe to berth at the terminal at 4.35am on Monday.

High winds of 70 knots were recorded at around 9pm on Sunday at Belfast Lough and the extreme weather resulted in ‘significant pressure’ placed on the emergency services, the PSNI said.

North Down MLA Stephen Dunne praised the actions of emergency responders following the storm.

Noting the dangerously high winds, the DUP MLA said: “Despite the risks, our emergency services, road and utility engineers stepped up to the plate as always to keep us safe in extremely dangerous weather.

“Despite widespread disruption, caused by fallen trees and other debris our dedicated health service staff, ambulance crews, police, Coastguard and Fire and Rescue Service continued to work tirelessly to protect the lives of local residents and reduce disruption where possible.

“I would like to commend these hard-working people for their commitment to helping their community all year round, and especially in difficult circumstances such as this.”

A spokesperson for NIE said: “We would ask that people do not approach broken power lines or damaged poles or electrical equipment and to please report any damage immediately on 03457 643 643. 

“We have additional engineers, call handlers and support staff helping to restore supplies and to provide regular updates to customers.
“Powercheck on the NIE Networks website is another excellent resource for providing customers with reliable and real time information about a power cut and the status of restoration. Alternatively, customers can follow us on social media for regular updates and information.”