Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Nightmare on roads as forecasters warn of more snow to come for Northern Ireland

Sheep farmers Robert and James Patterson find it difficult to get any work down on the farm due to the snow.

Up to four ins of snow has fallen in many parts of Northern Ireland particularly on higher ground like the Mourne area of Co. Down.
Sheep farmers Robert and James Patterson find it difficult to get any work down on the farm due to the snow.
Sheep farmers Robert and James Patterson find it difficult to get any work down on the farm due to the snow.

Motorists faced serious disruption across Northern Ireland as ice and snow led to increasingly dangerous and unpredictable driving conditions.

More than 30 schools were forced to shut and a series of accidents brought main routes to a standstill across the province.

Forecasters are warning we could be set for further bouts of Arctic-like conditions tomorrow as today's milder conditions look set to get frostier heading into the evening.

Among the areas worst hit by treacherous conditions were Newry, Coleraine, Ballymena, Keady, Belfast and Bangor.

Some areas saw a blanket of up to four inches of snow, making driving conditions tricky.

Michael McAuley said his 60-mile journey from Portrush to Belfast had taken almost three hours due to horrendous conditions.

"The road to Ballymoney was treacherous and the A26 and M2 were very slow," he said.

"The M2 at Ballymena was only really passable on one lane so I'm not entirely sure how much gritting was done, if any."

Although conditions grew increasingly poor during the early hours of yesterday morning, temperatures remained above freezing.

Translink said some of its bus services were affected in north and west Belfast and Newtownabbey, with some delays on rail services between Belfast and Portadown.

In Co Down a bus became stuck in snow on the Ballynahinch Road in Downpatrick.

A number of flights were also delayed as a result of the poor weather.

According to Sean Penston of forecasters Meteogroup, Northern Ireland could be set for more snow in the coming 24 hours.

"On Thursday there could be a covering of snow across Northern Ireland and there could be accumulations in some parts," he said.

"It could also get quite breezy, between 30-35mph – breezy and cold with a significant wind chill."

Roads Minister Danny Kennedy said gritting began on Monday afternoon "in anticipation of the severe weather conditions forecasted".

"Many parts of the network in higher areas and where there were significant accumulations of snow were also ploughed during the night," he added.

"All drivers should be prepared for the conditions."

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