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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2006, 18:38 GMT
Weather scuppers outdoor concert
Fallen tree
A tree in Aghalee blown down by 80 mph winds
Foul weather has led to the cancellation of an outdoor concert in Belfast City Hall to usher in 2007.

The Rock The Hall outdoor concert was called off for safety reasons as high winds battered Northern Ireland.

The winds, including a tornado in Couty Armagh, have caused widespread disruption. Hundreds of homes in the Aghalee area are without electricity.

Roads have closed in counties Antrim, Londonderry and Down due to fallen trees, power lines and telegraph poles.

It is understood a roof has been blown off an apartment block in Comber, County Down.

Concert

Thousands of people had been expected to attend the Rock the Hall concert, but the Belfast City Council said safety had to come first.

The artists - including Tony Christie and Beverly Knight - will perform in the city hall minus the audience and be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 from 2230 GMT.

The outdoor concert at city hall had to be cancelled
The outdoor concert at city hall had to be cancelled

The events manager at the council, Gerry Copeland, said the cancellation was "hugely disappointing" - but the safest thing to do under the circumstances.

"We've been monitoring this for probably about 72 hours, and getting hourly updates from the Met Office, and our most recent forecast - not just off the web, but also verbal updates - are showing there are going to be gusts possibly 70 to 80 miles an hour.

"There's no temporary structure in any part of the world that would actually be able to withstand those kinds of gusts," Mr Copeland said.

"So our absolute priority is not just for the public who would have come down here, obviously they're disappointed, but also for the artists and the crew who are actually working on the show as well."




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