Northern Ireland travel warning as Storm Isha heads this way
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With strong winds forecast on Sunday and Monday, the Department for Infrastructure is warning of danger and disruption on the roads and that ongoing strike action may affect how it responds to incidents, including flooding.
The Met Office has issued an amber warning for strong and disruptive winds from 6pm on Sunday until 9am on Monday while a yellow warning for wind is in place from noon on Sunday until noon on Monday.
The stormy conditions are expected to affect all of Northern Ireland.
The strongest winds will be during the early hours of Monday, strongest around the coast, particularly the north coast, and in exposed locations.
Road-users have been warned that the weather conditions could lead to debris on the roads, fallen trees, flooding and spray or large waves on exposed and vulnerable coastal areas.
A Department spokesperson said: “Conditions could lead to traffic disruption and the public are being asked to consider their journeys and if travelling are advised to take extra care and exercise caution given the risk of obstructions on the roads.
"Due to the potential for large waves, flooding of coastal roads is also possible - please remember not to drive through flood water.”
The Department said that ongoing industrial action may disrupt the response to any potential storm clear up operation and other essential services which are routinely delivered by DfI staff including assistance to those incidents with most impact to life and property; response and clear-up operation to fallen trees and debris on the roads; the repair of serious defects such as manhole collapse or potholes; gully clearing and cleansing; response to calls to the flood incident line and response to flood emergencies.
"While contingency arrangements to deal with industrial action are being put in place, this will not replace the full maintenance service from the Department,” the spokesperson advised.
"Monitoring of river levels and tidal surges has been ongoing and will continue until the weather warnings have elapsed. Rivers teams will be on standby and have been checking and clearing drainage screens and other assets. Regional Community Resilience Groups have also been advised of weather patterns and to make appropriate preparations.
"It may be necessary to close some roads or put temporary restrictions in place. Road users are reminded to adhere to road signs and any temporary traffic lights. If your journey is essential, reduce your speed, stay well behind the vehicle in front, remain focused and always wear your seatbelt.”
Members of the public are asked to continue to report incidents of flooding to the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100. Calls taken by the incident line staff are passed to the relevant responding agency. Problems on the road network including obstructions should be reported at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/travel-transport-and-roads/problems-roads-and-streets.
“The Department will continue to prioritise, where possible, the most urgent incidents and we will keep our advice to the public under review. We apologise for any inconvenience to the public in the meantime,” added the spokesperson.