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Schools closed by sudden snowfall

By Victoria O’Hara

Heavy snowfall led to motorists facing serious disruption today as more icy weather swept across Northern Ireland.





The sudden blast of wintry weather also led to many schools in parts of the province closing.

Many areas that appeared to escape the snow yesterday — particularly in counties Down, Antrim and Armagh — today woke up to find an icy front had hit.

Rush hour resulted in many drivers experiencing delays as they travelled through treacherous wintry conditions.

Banbridge, Newry, Belfast, Lisburn, Lurgan, Dollingstown and Gilford were among the areas worst affected.

The Met Office issued a warning for heavy snow in Co Down for up to 10am with between of 2-5cm falling on lower ground and 5-10cm on higher routes.

And forecasters warned that “more sleet and snow” was set to cross Co Antrim today.

As the cold front hit police issued a warning for motorists to take extra caution.

“Visibility has been reduced so use appropriate lighting,” a PSNI spokeswoman said.

The M1 between Portadown and Belfast was badly hit.

Meanwhile, flights at Belfast International Airport also experienced minor delays due to the winter blast.

The morning Belfast to Edinburgh flight and the 7.20am Heathrow flight were delayed for around 40 minutes.

Passengers set to fly today were advised to contact the airport for further flight information.

Lindsey Dovey, a forecaster for Meteogroup, said the wintry weather was set to continue tomorrow.

“The worst is set to be this morning,” she said.

“The eastern parts of Northern Ireland seem to be the places that will be worst affected today.

“But after midday it should have cleared.

“It is going to be mostly dry with clear spells in the evening.”

She added: “There will be one or two more wintry showers around but the next snow fall should be in the early hours of Friday.”

Most of the schools which closed today were in Co Down.

These included:

  • Iveagh Primary School in Rathfriland;
  • Bronte Primary School near Banbridge;
  • Rathfriland High School;
  • St Matthew's Primary School, Magheramayo;
  • St Patrick's Primary School in Hilltown;
  • Fairhill Primary School in Kinallen, Dromara;
  • Drumadonnell Primary School near Rathfriland;
  • Clontifleece Primary School near Warrenpoint;
  • St Michael's Primary School, Dromara;
  • St Mary's Primary School, Rathfriland;
  • Ballycarrickmaddy Primary Schooloutside Lisburn;
  • Lagan College in Belfast;
  • St Mary's Primary School, Dechomet, Ballyward;
  • St Patrick's Primary School, Drumgreenagh, Rathfriland;
  • Sacred Heart Primary School in Dundrum;
  • Milltown Primary School, Banbridge;
  • Dromore Central Primary School;
  • Bridge Integrated Primary School, Banbridge;
  • St Colman's Primary School, Saval, near Newry
  • Monkstown Nursery School;
  • Clonduff Playgroup, Hilltown.

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