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Almost a white Christmas, and more icy weather on the way for Northern Ireland


Having a ball: Youngsters enjoy the snow on Divis Mountain yesterday

Having a ball: Youngsters enjoy the snow on Divis Mountain yesterday

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Having a ball: Youngsters enjoy the snow on Divis Mountain yesterday

It wasn't quite a White Christmas, but it was pretty close in some parts of chilly Northern Ireland this festive season - just a few days late.

With snow and ice warnings in place until this morning, Storm Bella brought near freezing conditions across most of the province at the weekend.

Out came the sledges, the toboggans and the traditional snowmen as hardy folk wrapped up warm to work off some Christmas calories in the fresh, frosty air.

But after a chilly night, today is set to be a much brighter day with sunny spells.

The yellow weather warnings for snow and ice in Northern Ireland came into effect yesterday, and will remain in force until 6pm today. Eastern areas of Northern Ireland will be mostly dry, but scattered showers will continue in the west, turning heavier, as the day progresses

There will be strong northerly winds, with a maximum temperature of around 5 °C.

Met Office forecasters say the chilly weather is set to continue for the next few days.


A family builds a snowman

A family builds a snowman

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

A family builds a snowman

Showers will be most frequent in western areas where it will be blustery, and with wintry showers on high ground.

Northern Ireland's Department for Infrastructure's gritter drivers will be salting the main roads as a safety precaution.

The public body yesterday advised motorists to exercise caution when travelling, particularly when driving on any untreated roads.

Snow-laden clouds have already blanketed Scotland, and the snow belt is expected to move south across the Lake District and into central and southern England, with some areas set to received up to four inches of snow.

Forecasters said the wintry weather was likely to continue for some days to come, with transport services certain to be affected.

"Localised accumulations of 1-3 cm are possible to lower levels but higher accumulations are likely over higher ground.

"Above 250 metres, accumulations of five to 10 cm are possible.

"Skies are expected to clear from the north overnight and widespread ice is likely to develop and persist through to Monday morning, especially across central and eastern areas," the Met Office said.

Rail journeys are likely to be disrupted, hitting people who had travelled to get home for Christmas Day, as they begin to try to return to their homes around the country.

South of the border, 1,000 homes were hit by power cuts in the wake of Storm Bella.

Properties in Dublin, Clare, Kildare and Donegal were reported to be affected last night

Met Eireann also issued snow and ice warnings for eight counties - Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Longford, Louth, Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo.

The Irish forecaster also warned of high winds along the whole of Ireland's exposed Atlantic coast, from Cork to Donegal.

"Cold wintry conditions will continue over the next few days," Met Eireann said.

"Cold weather will persist, but it will become drier closer to the new year, and nights will be frosty."

Belfast Telegraph

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