Wednesday, 18 October 2017

STORM Ophelia has left its mark on South Down causing unprecedented levels of disruption.

An amber weather warning was issued for Northern Ireland yesterday (Monday) with the worst of the winds coming into force from 3pm as ex-hurricane Ophelia passed through.

Schools, public transport, businesses and community services in the local area were all affected with many taking the decision to close.

All schools in the area were closed, Rockwell Collins in Kilkeel was closed early yesterday afternoon, other businesses and offices closed and the public were urged to stay indoors and "remain vigilant".

The Met Office said the spell of "very windy weather" had the potential for "injuries and danger to life" and that longer journeys and cancellations were likely as well as power cuts and flying debris along with large waves around coastal areas.

Honeymoon couple Gillian and Patrick Corbett were left stranded in Paris yesterday following the news that their flight back home had been cancelled due to Storm Ophelia.

The Ballyward couple married two years ago but only managed to jet off to Paris last Thursday on their much-anticipated honeymoon.

Gillian Corbett (nee Bell) told The Outlook: "We were packed up and ready to head to the airport for our 5.15pm flight when I received a text message from my friend telling me that our flight had been cancelled.

I checked online and saw it for myself and my initial reaction was just utter panic." Gillian said that herself and Patrick were going to leave their hotel and wait at the airport in the hope that they will get placed on a later flight home.

"Our mobile home sits up on a hill so I've been in contact with my mum asking if she could put away some of our ornaments inside the house and keep an eye on things for us.

Patrick is back at work tomorrow too so the weather is definitely affecting us on many levels." The couple are flying with Easyjet but Gillian said they had received nothing yet from the airline company.

"I can imagine the airport will be chaos with families coming back to Ireland from Disneyland.

"Hopefully the flights are not cancelled much longer and the storm is not as bad as they have predicted.

"We certainly did not anticipate this would happen when we arrived last Thursday. We have spent a long time organising this trip and have had such a wonderful time in Paris. It is unfortunate that this is how the honeymoon has ended but safety obviously comes first."

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon area Council issued closures from midday yesterday including bin collections ceasing at 12pm as well as recycling centres closing, parks and outdoor facilities, leisure, community centres and town halls.

The South Eastern Health Trust suspended transport for clients going to day centres and Translink suspended some of their services and warned of further disruption to bus and train services.

The Department of Education advised all schools and colleges to close yesterday as a precaution. In a statement released on Sunday evening the Department said: "The Department of Education has advised that all schools and colleges should close tomorrow.

"This is entirely precautionary, however given the weather warnings and the fact that the most severe weather is forecast for when pupils are due to be leaving school, the Department believes that this is an appropriate response. It is important that members of the public take care to protect themselves and their property from the effects of the strong winds." The Met Office forecasted winds of up to 65mph (105km/h) across Northern Ireland but it was believed that they may reach 80mph (129km/h) in the far south-east


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete