Page last updated at 04:12 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:12 UK

Bad weather causing NI disruption

Snowy road
Snow caused hazardous conditions for motorists

About 30,000 homes in Northern Ireland are without power due to bad weather.

Northern Ireland Electricity said there was widespread damage, especially in Omagh, Enniskillen, Dungannon, Londonderry, Coleraine and Ballymena.

Roads have also been affected, with the Glenshane Pass, near Londonderry, causing problems for many motorists.

The road was closed on Tuesday evening and the Roads Service said their work had been hampered by snow, lying up to 50cms in some areas.

The Met office is predicting heavy rain and snow with biting gales.

The police have said driving conditions across Northern Ireland are "treacherous" and have advised motorists to slow down.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said about 150 people had been rescued from vehicles after becoming stuck in snow on the Glenshane Pass.

Police, mountain rescue and coastguard workers were involved in the operation.

Motorists were taken to a leisure centre in the city, only for a power failure to strike, forcing them to relocate to nearby Limavady.

On Tuesday, winds brought down electricity lines and poles and caused 250 individual faults.

An Northern Ireland Electricity spokesperson said its engineers were working on faults as quickly as it was "safe to do so" and that an additional 250 staff have been called in.

Contractors from the Irish Republic will be called in to help on Wednesday morning.

"At present, around 30,000 customers are without electricity," an NIE spokesperson said.

"This number is constantly changing - as faults are repaired in one area, customers are losing power in another.

"Poor visibility, high winds and worsening weather have meant that crews will stand down from midnight.

"Customers should be aware that if they are still off supply at midnight, their power will be off overnight."

Weather warning

A number of flights from Belfast International Airport on Tuesday evening were cancelled and further disruption is expected on Wednesday.

The Roads Service is working to keep roads open
The Roads Service is working to keep roads open

The flights affected were Easyjet departures to London Stansted, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow.

The 2210 BST Easyjet plane from London Stansted has also been cancelled, with a number of other planes diverted to other airports.

Meanwhile, a tree has fallen on the Belfast to Bangor train line, close to Marino station. Passengers are being transported by bus.

Earlier, conditions were said to be particularly bad between Coleraine and Maghera.

There were also reports of heavy snow between Omagh and Dromore.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning and has said heavy rain could cause flooding in many areas.

All P&O Express sailings between Larne and Cairnryan have been cancelled due to the weather, however, passengers will be transferred to conventional ferry sailings.

Stena sailings between Belfast and Stranraer have also been cancelled.

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