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Snow and ice bring chaos to Northern Ireland, but milder weather is on the way

By Linda Stewart

Published 16/01/2016

A wild horse stands on Black Mountain
A wild horse stands on Black Mountain
Roads on the outskirts of Belfast were treacherous if picturesque yesterday morning
Wild horses playfully roll around in the snow
Children have a snowball fight with each other on the mountain

Snow and ice brought chaos to parts of Northern Ireland yesterday, but it looks like conditions will turn milder this weekend.

Met Office forecasters have issued a yellow warning for ice, but milder air will be pushing in later today.

Yesterday schools were forced to close and transport services disrupted after Northern Ireland woke to a blanket of snow.

The main A5 road from Omagh to Ballygawley was closed due to compacted snow, but reopened later.

Meanwhile, Translink announced that all buses, including school services, between Crumlin and Belfast were suspended until further notice.

In Beragh, Co Tyrone, a Transport NI gritter crashed into a ditch after leaving the Donaghanie Road yesterday morning.

The vehicle, fitted with a snow plough, got into difficulties metres from the spot where a gritter left the road in January last year. The driver was left shaken but uninjured.

Near Crumlin the tractor unit of a lorry also plunged into a ditch after slipping on ice.

In Omagh one person was taken to hospital after a two-car collision on the A5 Great Northern Road on Thursday afternoon. A jack-knifed lorry also blocked the Carrickmore to Ballygawley route.

Yesterday a road gritter had to e withdrawn from service in Londonderry after staff came under attack from stone throwers.

Matthew Martin of forecasters MeteoGroup said the weather was set to change this weekend.

"It will start cold and frosty and some cloud is going to roll in from the north with patchy rain and drizzle, but there will be a push of milder air later," he said.

"It's a messy picture on Sunday with milder air and patchy, drizzly rain. Later on Sunday into Monday a band of more persistent rain will move in from the Atlantic back to more traditional weather, with rain and a strong south easterly breeze on Monday.

"Tuesday seems to be going back into a more unsettled regime with rain at times. Some of the rain bands could be slow moving. Lots of clouds but no more frost."

A Met Office warning last night said clear skies would allow temperatures to fall widely below freezing, allowing icy patches to form on untreated surfaces, including footpaths and cycleways.

"Some freezing fog patches are also likely overnight, most likely over eastern parts of Northern Ireland. Please be aware of the potential for difficult travel conditions," a spokesman said.

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