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Rain Warning As Belfast Floods Cause Chaos
Heavy rainfall has led to severe flooding in parts of Belfast - and people are being urged to brace for further downpours.
Much of the city came grinding to a halt as sheets of brown water were seen coursing down streets, with most main routes - such as the Ormeau Road - left impassable.
Cars were submerged and abandoned, and one police vehicle was stranded after flash flooding in the west of the city.
Police closed off several roads and advised motorists to take extreme care and travel only if necessary as parts of Antrim, Bangor, Dundonald and Lisburn were also hit by heavy rain.
Most roads, including motorways, are "passable with care", according to police.
Some manhole covers have been swept away, and motorists are advised to look out for debris on the roads.
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Further rain is forecast, with a risk of flash flooding in places, and the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning valid from 4am to 9pm on Thursday.
Northern Ireland Electricity said about 1,000 homes in south Belfast experienced disruption to electricity supplies, but power was later restored.
Many residents battled to keep back rising waters from their doorsteps by using boards, brushes and anything else that came to hand.
A Northern Ireland Water (NIW) spokeswoman said on Wednesday night its call centre had received 2,800 calls over blocked sewers and external and internal flooding.
She said areas affected included Lisburn, Dunmurry, Belfast and Bangor and "every effort" was being made to alleviate flooding.
However, SDLP Stormont assembly member Conall McDevitt claimed NIW had failed residents in the Finaghy area of Belfast.
"Although we have exceptionally rainy conditions tonight, the fact is that NI Water has failed in their commitment to support residents here with sandbags or to come up with an emergency response plan should heavy rain fall?
"As a result people in Sicily Park and Ashton Park, particularly, are either flooded in or are unable to access their homes.
"This is totally unacceptable and represents an absolute failure on NI Water's part."
The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) was inundated with calls for help from 6.30pm onwards.
Ulster Unionist assembly member Michael McGimpsey demanded the ministerial Executive take urgent action to alleviate "perennial" flooding problems in south Belfast.
He called on the Executive to introduce a £1,000 award to each affected house, as was the case during previous floods.
:: For clean-up and financial guidance, call Belfast City Council's flooding advice line on 0800 707 6965. The service goes live at 9am.
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