Gale force winds and torrential rain hit the city

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Severe storms battered Lisburn during the festive season, with motorists facing roads blocked by trees and homeowners fearing for the safety of their homes.

One local homeowner, Alexander Redpath, was left shaken after a ten foot section of tree hit his home on Boxing Day when gale force winds buffeted the city.

Mr Redpath, who is running for election for the Ulster Unionist Party in the next council elections, said: “On the evening of Boxing Day a 10 ft section of tree landed in our front garden causing damage to our door and knocking a window out of its pane,” explained Mr Redpath. “Another section hit the roof causing damage. We count ourselves exceptionally lucky that more damage wasn’t caused and no-one was hurt.

“I am aware of a number of neighbours who suffered similar damage and power cuts,” he continued. “I commend the staff of NIE on their hard work reconnecting properties in severe weather.

“As the holiday period draws to a close local residents will be attempting to resolve these matters with their insurers. Anyone requiring assistance with this process should contact their local representatives who will be more than happy to help,” he concluded.

On Boxing Day police also issued a warning to motorists in the Lisburn area to exercise extreme caution on the road, with black ice warnings also being issued during the festive period.

Many drivers had their travel plans disrupted as fallen trees and debris blocked roads throughout the city.

Homeowners in Lisburn also faced the prospect of blackouts as NIE worked around the clock to restore power to homes in Counties Antrim and Down.

Julia Carson, Communications Manager at Northern Ireland Electricity said: “We were in regular contact with the Met Office over the Christmas period, placing emergency crews, engineers and call handlers on standby to respond quickly when the storm hit early on Boxing Night. Communities in Counties Down, Antrim and Armagh suffered the most damage and we brought staff from our western and northern districts, as well as additional contractors, to aid the repair effort.

“Several hundred individual faults had to be repaired and extensive tree cutting, pole replacement and line restringing had to be carried out, often in heavy rain and very windy conditions.”