Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Motorists warned ahead of icy blast

Gritters are on stand-by as a band of snow is set to sweep across the country

Motorists have been warned of hazardous driving conditions over the coming days as Northern Ireland braces itself for a blast of severe wintry weather.

Snow, sleet and galeforce winds are expected to hit the region later and last through the weekend.

Stormont roads minister Danny Kennedy said an amber warning for snow had been issued by the Met Office. "We have 300 staff and around 130 gritters on stand-by to salt main roads to help drivers to cope with wintry conditions," he said.

"However, motorists and public transport users should keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared for disruption to their daily commute, allowing plenty of time when planning a journey. During such Met Office warnings it is advised to only travel if your journey is absolutely necessary.

"During periods of snow, you may have to drive at a fraction of the speed you would normally drive at to keep safe. This means it may take considerably longer to reach your destination during wintry weather.

"Even with the most careful and thorough planning, ice or snow-free roads can never be guaranteed. Motorists need to take extra care during wintry conditions."

Sean Penston, weather forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said most parts of Northern Ireland would see snowfall.

"A frontal band of rain is coming in across Ireland and that's going to reach Northern Ireland probably by around midnight (Friday morning)," he said.

"As that hits over Northern Ireland it is going to turn increasingly to sleet and snow. Overnight and through tomorrow (Friday) there will be snow across large parts of Northern Ireland.

"The most significant accumulations will be on high ground. A very cold and strong easterly wind might cause drifting of snow on high ground, particularly in the east."

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