Snowfall and plummeting temperatures have brought the coldest October temperatures to Northern Ireland since 1934. Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down and Tyrone were among the worst hit areas yesterday with falling snow making untreated roads close to impassable.
A Met Office spokeswoman said: “These are the lowest (October) daytime high temperatures since 1934.”
Temperature highs usually make double figures at this time of the year. However, gritters have covered thousands of kilometres of road battling the unseasonable conditions.
Colin Brown from Northern Ireland's Roads Service said they had 120 gritters out which covered 7,000kms of road in three hours. He appealed for people to take precautions when using the roads.
The Glenshane Pass was one of the worst hit areas. Conditions were at their worst near Dungiven were a number of cars were stranded.
Police were also warning of treacherous conditions on roads in Armagh and Tyrone. The police advised motorists to avoid travelling on roads where conditions have deteriorated.
P&O ferries assured the public that Irish Sea services remained unaffected by the widespread freeze but that it would keep a close eye on developing weather fronts.
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for heavy snow last night and recommended that people be prepared for the worst.
A spokesman for the office said the maximum temperature for yesterday was a mere 5.1c which is four degrees lower than the expected mean temperature for the month.
She said: “We would advice the public to take extra care especially on untreated roads.”
The outlook, however, looks brighter as we move into Halloween with temperatures picking up a little and even some sunny spells breaking the cloud, according to forecasters.
The Republic's extreme weather conditions resulted in hazardous driving conditions in parts of the east, north-east and midlands.
Co Wicklow was one of the worst affected areas with ice and heavy snowfall reported on high ground.
Gardai closed the Sally Gap after a bus got stuck in heavy snow earlier this morning.
The Wicklow Gap was reopened to traffic after earlier snowfalls left it impassable.
A spokeswoman for AA Roadwatch said road users must exercise extreme caution despite improved conditions.
“The clocks have recently gone back so motorists should ensure they have their dipped headlights on and their full headlights later on,” she said.
“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians need to make sure they are well lit up.”
She also appealed to motorists to reduce their speed on the way home during adverse weather conditions.
“People should give themselves extra time and keep their speed down so they are not rushing home.”