Belfast Telegraph

Whiteout in United States sparks blizzard fears in Northern Ireland

Whiteout in United States sparks blizzard fears here

By Linda Stewart

Life in northeastern USA has ground to a standstill thanks to massive snowstorms drowning homes in five feet of drifts - sparking fears that Northern Ireland could be the next to be hit.

Parts of Buffalo are under heavy of snow, leaving residents trapped in their homes and cars. More than 100 National Guard members were deployed in New York to help in clearing roads and removing abandoned vehicles.

Train services in parts of New York State were suspended into yesterday, while long stretches of road near Buffalo were closed.

However, the Met Office says it seems unlikely that Northern Ireland will fall foul of the 'rule of thumb' that extreme weather in the US will make its way to the UK a few days later.

Its forecasters say there is "high confidence" that the snow will stay on the western side of the Atlantic.

It says a southward buckle in the jet stream has seen cold polar air pouring down into north eastern parts of North America, bringing temperatures in Buffalo as low as -15C.

In past winters, similar weather situations in the US have strengthened the jet stream and increased the risk of storms reaching our shores, but the Met Office says this isn't expected at the moment.

Instead, it says, we can expect more changeable weather over the next few weeks.

Yesterday the US was bracing itself for more snow, but forecasters predict it will ease today, with milder conditions bringing a rapid thaw - although this may bring a risk of flash flooding.

Another wave of stormy weather was forecast to sweep across the city of Buffalo last night, bringing the total snowfall this week up to levels normally expected over an entire year. Governor Andrew Cuomo said: "This is an historic event. This snowstorm will break all sorts of records. It will get worse before it gets better."

On this side of the Atlantic, forecasters are predicting a dry start today, with rain extending across all parts but becoming drier during the evening.

The Met Office says rain is expected to clear to sunshine and showers tomorrow, then dry and bright with some sunshine on Sunday and Monday.

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