Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Snowboarding and skiing ...welcome to the Mournes in the middle of spring

A snowboarder at Spelga Dam on Sunday
A snowboarder at Spelga Dam on Sunday
Kite skiers at Spelga Dam on Sunday
Kite skiers at Spelga Dam on Sunday
A skier at Spelga Dam on Sunday
A skier at Spelga Dam on Sunday

Officially it was the beginning of British Summer Time.

But rather than reaching for buckets and spades, some in Northern Ireland donned skis and snowboards to make the most of the unseasonal weather over the Easter period – one of the coldest ever recorded here.

Mounds of heavy snow continue to wreak havoc in a number of areas, with freezing conditions delaying the thaw in parts of Co Down and Co Antrim which are the worst affected.

Across Northern Ireland on Sunday the average temperature was a chilly -2C, with Castlederg hardest hit by the cold over the weekend, with temperatures there plummeting to -5.2C.

This compared to an average temperature for this time of year of around 3.5C, according to weather experts.

It did remain dry for most though, with day-trippers heading in their droves to popular coastal destinations including Portrush and Newcastle.

And in the Mournes the snow proved an attraction to winter sports fans, snowboarders using the conditions to perfect their jumps at Spelga Dam.

Britain had its coldest Easter day on record, with temperatures dropping as low as -12.5C to round off a freezing month.

The reading, taken in the early hours of Sunday in Braemar, northern Scotland, was the coldest Easter day since modern records began in 1960, eclipsing the previous record for an Easter day of -9.8C on Easter Monday in 1986.

The cold weather is set to continue throughout Northern Ireland this week – with milder weather not looking likely for at least another fortnight.

"It will be staying on the cold side with plenty of dry weather as we enter the week," said Billy Payne of Meteogroup.

"It will be quite nice weather, some sunshine, but there will be overnight frost.

"The temperature could drop to as low as -4C at night."

Many in Northern Ireland are still dealing with the aftermath of the heavy snowfall which struck over a week ago.

Last week 22 helicopter flights delivered 46 fodder drops to animals isolated in the Mourne Mountains and Glens of Antrim.

A further 45 farmers transported feed to remote areas using Department of Agriculture Softrak vehicles.

Belfast Zoo is expected to remain closed for most of this week.

Lions had to be moved after their moat froze over and a cheetah was also re-homed after a tree fell through the fence of its enclosure.

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