Storm Eleanor shuts down Britain, Ireland

Ireland, Wednesday

Storm Eleanor has battered the island of Ireland, as winds gusting up to 100 miles per hour caused flooding, travel disruption and damage to buildings. The wind ripped off part of the roof of a building owned by the Harland and Wolff firm in east Belfast and fallen trees have blocked several roads.

More than 20,000 customers in Northern Ireland lost their electricity supply but power has now been restored to all but about 2,700 homes and business. A wind warning remains in force.

The Met Office said Storm Eleanor is now over the North Sea but strong winds will continue to affect Northern Ireland throughout much of Wednesday and a yellow wind warning is in place until 19:00 GMT. In Londonderry, the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge and the Duke Street underpass remain closed because of flooding, and diversions are in place.

The 2,700 customers who are still without electricity are mainly in counties Down and Armagh, according to NIE Networks. “The damage has been extensive with lines brought down by falling trees and poles broken by the high winds,” said its communications manager, Julia Carson.

“We have been working in difficult conditions since last night to restore power to over 20,000 customers and we’ll continue to respond to reports of damage and reconnect supplies as quickly and safely as possible.”

All sailings between Rathlin and Ballycastle have been cancelled on Wednesday due to the weather. The Harland and Wolff factory building that was damaged was not in use at the time, a spokesman for the company said.

It has been earmarked for painting projects, but lost the outer skin of the roof in the storm. Harland and Wolff was once one of the world’s leading shipbuilders but the firm has now diversified and concentrates on design engineering, ship repair, offshore platforms and renewable energy projects. — BBC

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