Power is restored to most homes

The lightning caused major destruction in this Balleymoney house

Power has now been restored to almost all of the homes affected by storms over the weekend, NIE has said.

Spokeswoman Julia Carson said emergency crews had worked in severe conditions throughout the night.

Storm force winds swept across Northern Ireland, causing power cuts, fallen trees and other damage.

The Met Office said coastal winds of almost 80mph were recorded. At the height of the storms, about 9,000 homes were left without power.

The Ards Peninsula, Downpatrick and Newry areas were among the worst affected.

"We had over 200 engineers and linesmen as well as extra call handlers and administrative staff working through the night to help restore those customers affected by the severe weather," said Ms Carson.

Lightning struck the house during the height of the storm

"They have been working in high winds and rain conditions to carry out repairs."

A number of roads were blocked by fallen trees. The areas affected included Magherafelt, Ballymoney, Kesh, Dungiven and Lisburn.

Meanwhile, a County Antrim man has said he is lucky to be alive after a bolt of lightning passed through his body.

David Reilly was in bed when his house at Castlehill Gardens, Ballymoney, was struck by lightning at about 0100 GMT on Saturday.

The strike blew the slates off the roof, demolished upstairs ceilings, and blew electrical sockets out and televisions off the walls.

Mr Reilly was taken to hospital for burns to his hand and foot.

He said the hospital staff believed his injuries were caused by "the force of the electricity passing through my hand and out my foot".

The lightning struck as Mr Reilly was watching television in bed.

"I was just about to turn the TV off when there was an almighty explosion," he said.

"Everything went dark. The ceilings fell on me. I got up and I didn't know where I was. The bang was that loud I was disorientated."

The blast ignited a small fire in Mr Reilly's seven-year-old daughter's bedroom and he climbed into the roofspace to put it out.

Fortunately, both the child and her mother were staying in England at the time.

He said his little girl would have been killed had she been in the house.

"I looked round me and I couldn't believe my eyes. It is devastating," he said.

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