Northern Ireland

High tides flood seafronts in County Down

Strong winds and high tides have caused serious flooding in County Down.

The Portaferry Road in the Ards Peninsula has been closed because it is submerged in deep water.

The main road between Rostrevor and Warrenpoint was closed for a time after big waves caused flooding. In Killough, the A2 Station Road has also reopened.

With heavy rain forecast for Sunday followed by high winds on Monday, sandbags are being distributed in a number of coastal towns in County Down.

A number of distribution centres are being opened on Sunday:

  • Newtownards - North Road council depot
  • Portaferry - Market House Square
  • Ballywalter - Ballywalter Presbyterian Church car park
  • Castlewellan - Bann Road recycling centre
  • Downpatrick - Strangford Road council depot

Thousands of sandbags have already been given out in east Belfast.

The collection point at Inverary Community Centre in the Sydenham area closes at 16:00 GMT, but an alternative site will open on Monday morning if necessary.

Woman putting out sandbags
Residents in parts of Belfast have been preparing for possible flooding

Authorities are concerned about what may happen on Monday, when the high tide combines with expected strong winds and heavy rain.

Police said a number of areas had been identified as being at risk of flooding:

  • Sydenham, east Belfast
  • Corporation Street, Belfast
  • Sailortown area of Belfast, including Clarendon Dock, Belfast Harbour Marina, Dock Street and the area surrounding the Odyssey
  • Ards Peninsula

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, who is in charge of the multi-agency response, said operators of underground car parks in Belfast city centre had been advised to close on Monday as a precaution.

"We would urge the public to remain on alert and to be mindful of their own safety, in particular, to avoid coastal paths, be wary of possibly unstable harbour defences and to drive with extreme caution as many roads continue to be affected by surface water," he added.

Winds warning

Sandbags by the river
Sandbags have been distributed in east Belfast amid a flood warning

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of winds for Northern Ireland on Monday.

"Strong winds will combine with large waves to bring the risk of coastal flooding," it said.

"The public should be aware of the dangers of waves crashing onshore and over-topping shore lines and sea fronts."

Elsewhere in the UK, the Met Office has also issued yellow alerts for the west coast of Britain.

And in the Republic of Ireland, the west coast is expected to see some of the strongest gusts on Sunday and Monday.

Met √Čireann (the Irish Meteorological Service) has issued its second highest alert for wind.

A status orange, which means to be be prepared for possible disruption, is in place for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford.

Gusts of up to 100 to 120km per hour could hit exposed coastal areas.

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