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Northern Ireland drivers warned of hazardous sleet and ice conditions

By Linda Stewart

Published 14/01/2016

Handout photo issued by the Department of Education of (from the left) Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill, who organised an urgent meeting with government agencies and local authorities to discuss the ongoing response to the recent significant flooding. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday January 7, 2016. See PA story ULSTER Flood. Photo credit should read: DARDNI/David A Scott/PA Wire
NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Handout photo issued by the Department of Education of (from the left) Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill, who organised an urgent meeting with government agencies and local authorities to discuss the ongoing response to the recent significant flooding. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday January 7, 2016. See PA story ULSTER Flood. Photo credit should read: DARDNI/David A Scott/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Snow could bring difficult travelling conditions to Northern Ireland today, the Met Office has warned.

Forecasters said an area of low pressure will track eastwards across Northern Ireland today, bringing spells of rain, sleet, and some snow over hills.

"As this system clears overnight, skies will clear from the north west and temperatures are expected to fall below freezing," a Met Office spokesman said.

The Met Office warned of outbreaks of rain, with some sleet or snow on higher ground, clearing in the early hours followed by a sharp drop in temperatures which could lead to icy stretches on untreated roads.

"Sleet and snow showers will return later this morning. Please be aware of the potential for difficult travel conditions," the spokesman said.

The warning comes as a number of roads across Northern Ireland remained closed due to flooding, especially in the Fermanagh, Portadown and Armagh areas. Transport NI warned that a sea defence wall has been damaged on the A2 Coast Road in Co Antrim 2km north of Ballygally.

A priority flow traffic system has been put in place reducing the road to one lane over a short section.

Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen has also announced immediate inspections of areas along the A2 Shore Road and A20 Portaferry coastal roads on the Ards peninsula.

It comes after torrential rain and tidal impacts over the Christmas and New Year period caused the A20 Portaferry Road to partially collapse.

"I have discussed this issue with officials to determine what steps can be taken to try and prevent the closure of roads on the Ards peninsula due to coastal erosion," the minister said.

"I have instructed TransportNI staff to carry out an urgent inspection of locations that are suspected to be at risk from coastal erosion and identify any remedial work that may be necessary.

"Forecaster Matthew Martin of Meteogroup said: "There could be some snow accumulation beginning around the north west and affecting higher ground but a few flurries might make their way down into Armagh."

The risk of wintry showers along the north coast continues into Friday, but the weather is expected to become more settled over the weekend.

Belfast Telegraph

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