District battered by windy weather
Tuesday, 31 December 2013
GALES in excess of 70mph wreaked havoc across the district during the festive season.
Just a week after the Democrat reported from Newry's O'Neill Avenue, which saw high winds fall a tree, rip metal railings from the ground and collapse a chimney stack, the stormy weather was at work again.
Structural damage caused across the NIE network saw almost 8,000 homes lose power in the Newry and Mourne area at one stage on Boxing Day. NIE personnel worked through the night to repair cables and restore power, successfully doing so for all but 800 customers by the following morning.
Most of the damage was caused by fallen trees, branches and debris interfering with power lines, although NIE did also deal with fallen electricity poles in the district as well. Merchants Quay and Canal Street were closed to pedestrians and traffic due to debris falling from buildings in those areas, while police were also advising people not to travel if possible, with road closures a common sight across the district.
Sinn Feín councillor Charlie Casey kept his facebook followers updated as he posted from the scene of a fallen tree which damaged vehicles in Newry residential area The Meadow.
“I left a contact number with the tennant most likely to be affected if the tree moves from its current position," he posted, adding that the Housing Executive had delayed sending someone to the site until the following morning.
Meanwhile, speaking as the stormy weather continued to rage, SDLP South Down representative Karen McKevitt said she was in touch with both NIE and Road Service and had received reassurance from both agencies that all reports of weather related faults and damage were being systematically dealt with.
To report power cuts or structural damage to NIE telephone: 08457 643 643.
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