Severe weather warning as snow blizzards forecast to persist
Northern Ireland is facing the cold prospect of virtually constant snowfall today after being transformed into a winter wonderland once again last night.
The Met Office had a severe weather warning in place with up to 8ins of snow predicted to fall overnight.
Northern Ireland, Scotland, North Wales and the West Country got the worst of the last night’s weather.
Met Office forecaster Dan Grey said the snow was expected to “pile into Northern Ireland” until Friday afternoon.
“There will be a constant stream of snow showers in all areas until late on Friday,” he said.
“We are predicting up to eight inches on high ground and five inches in lower lying areas.
“Temperatures will continue to be very low, not rising above 2C on Friday.”
Temperatures were expected to fall as low as -5°C last night.
Road Service deployed 120 gritters between 3pm and 6pm yesterday.
Up to 43,000 tonnes of salt has already been used this winter.
The Roads Service said the situation was constantly being assessed.
“Given the weather forecast for the next 24 hours, Roads Service will continue to treat roads, with operations continuing after midnight,” a spokesperson said.
By 8pm most of the province was in the grip of heavy snow. Drifting snow caused by strong Arctic winds caused treacherous conditions for both pedestrians and drivers.
The north west around Londonderry and Coleraine suffered badly.
Late last night there were reports that driving conditions on the Glenshane Pass were horrendous.
Police urged drivers to be extremely cautious.
By rush hour yesterday Randalstown and Ballymena had several inches of snow, as did Belfast by 9pm.
Drivers were warned to expect serious disruption across Northern Ireland in the morning.
Roads Service network maintenance manager Colin Brown said: “Roads Service is well prepared for the challenging conditions we are likely to meet over the next few days and will have more than 300 people on standby to salt and clear main roads to help drivers cope with the wintry conditions.
“The forecast conditions, which indicate that rain will be quickly followed by heavy snow, are particularly difficult to deal with, as the salt can be washed off if it is spread too early.”