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Snow falls in parts of Northern Ireland after thousands left without electricity after high winds

By Linda Stewart

Published 30/01/2016

Lurgan Park covered in Snow as Sam rugby tackled his attempt at a snow man on January 30 2016 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Lurgan Park covered in Snow as Sam rugby tackled his attempt at a snow man on January 30 2016 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Lurgan , UK - January 30th, Pictured is Lurgan Park covered in Snow as Sam rugby tacked his attempt at a snow man on the 30th January 2016 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Lurgan , UK - January 30th, Pictured is Lurgan Park covered in Snow as dad Elvis enjoys some time with children Ealiyah and Ealizah on the 30th January 2016 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Lurgan , UK - January 30th, Pictured is Lurgan Park covered in Snow as dogs Marley and Sampson enjoy a run on the 30th January 2016 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Pacemaker press 30/01/16 Sheep try to stay warm after a dusting of snow covers the ground around Loughgiel in Co Antrim. Picture Pacemaker press
Pacemaker press 30/01/16 Sheep try to stay warm after a dusting of snow covers the ground around Loughgiel in Co Antrim. Picture Pacemaker press
Draperstown, Co Londonderry. Pic Hugh McCloy
Pacemaker press 30/01/16 Sheep try to stay warm after a dusting of snow covers the ground around Loughgiel in Co Antrim. Picture Pacemaker press
Pacemaker press 30/01/16 Sheep try to stay warm after a dusting of snow covers the ground around Loughgiel in Co Antrim. Picture Pacemaker press
Pacemaker press 30/01/16 A Chaffinch fluffs it's feathers to stay warm after an over night dusting of snow covers the ground around Loughgiel in Co Antrim. Picture Pacemaker press
Snow falling Moira, Co Down. Pic Kim Diver
Little four month pup Daisy enjoys the snow in Moira
Snow falling Moira, Co Down. Pic Kim Diver
Slieve Gallion on Saturday morning. Pic Hugh McCloy
USA: A bulldozer clears snow on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol January 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Heavy snow continued to fall in the Mid-Atlantic region causing "life-threatening blizzard conditions" and affecting millions of people. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: A snowplow clears snow in front of the U.S. Capitol on January 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. The blizzard that has brought massive snowfall and a standstill to the East Coast and the Mid Atlantic region has stopped. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
People walk on Pennsylvania Avenue in near whiteout conditions in Washington on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard walloped the eastern United States on Saturday, paralyzing Washington and New York under a heavy blanket of snow as officials warned millions of people to remain indoors until the storm eases up. / AFP / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
People participate in a giant snowball fights in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. AFP / Olivier DoulieryOLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images

Some across Northern Ireland have woken up this morning to scattering of snow right across the province.

It's a chilly start to the weekend, but the snow comes after thousands of homes were left without power yesterday morning after gusts of up to 85mph raked Northern Ireland.

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Parts of the UK are braced for further weather-related trouble amid warnings that a wintry mix of high winds, snow and ice could create difficult driving conditions and disrupt power supplies.

In Northern Ireland, Orkney and Shetland, and the north of England, the snow and wind warnings are at the lesser yellow "be aware" stage.

On the amber warnings, the Met Office said: "Frequent snow showers are expected overnight and well into Saturday, heavy at times, with some more prolonged spells of snow likely.

"Five to 10cm snowfall is likely to accumulate quite widely, with over 15cm in places above 300 metres. Ice is also likely to form on untreated surfaces.

"In addition, gusts of 50-60mph are likely at times, occasionally 70mph across the far north and west of the amber area and over mountains. This will lead to blizzard conditions at times and drifting of snow.

"Power supplies may be disrupted by ice accretion and also by lightning strikes, with hail also likely.

"Be prepared for transport disruption, difficult driving conditions and disruption to power supplies."

Meanwhile, fallen trees brought down electricity lines across the country, leaving almost 20,000 homes in the dark.

NIE Network staff battled round the clock to get power restored after Storm Gertrude swept into Northern Ireland, causing particular disruption in counties Tyrone, Londonderry and Antrim. Smaller faults also cut off power in exposed rural and coastal locations in counties Down and Antrim.

At its height, the storm cut off power to around 19,000 homes, but by teatime yesterday, electricity had been restored to 17,000 of them.

NIE Networks said the damage included trees falling across power lines and broken electricity poles. Emergency crews battled to replace broken poles, clear trees and branches and replace and reconnect overhead power lines as part of a widespread effort to restore supply. 

The company opened its main incident centre in Craigavon, as well as local escalation bases, and said winds were high and working conditions difficult. 

Julia Carson, NIE Networks communications manager, added: "We were in regular contact with the Met Office and had mobilised NIE Networks emergency crews, engineers and call handlers in preparation for any damage the severe weather may cause." 

Trees were brought down across Northern Ireland, blocking roads and disrupting traffic.

Fallen trees damaged cars and electricity lines in Plumbridge, Co Tyrone.

A tree also fell on a car on the Mullagh Road in Maghera. While the driver suffered minor cuts and bruises, he was able to walk away from the vehicle.

Forecasters Meteogroup said snow showers - even at lower locations and particularly in the west of Northern Ireland - and widespread gales were expected over the next few days.

Belfast Telegraph

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