Belfast Telegraph

Snow hits Northern Ireland: Warning after ambulance crews attend 15 crashes in half a day

Weather warnings upgraded and extended until weekend

By Jonathan Bell

The public has been urged to take heed of weather warnings and exercise caution on the roads after the Ambulance Service was called to 15 crashes in just half a day across Northern Ireland.

It's been a busy day for Northern Ireland emergency responders as heavy snow descended across the region.

On an average day the Ambulance Service would attend 13 crashes. By midday on Tuesday there had been 15 incidents requiring urgent medical attention.

In one incident in Broughshane a man was left seriously hurt after he was hit by a bin lorry.

Ambulance Service spokesman John McPoland urged those taking to the roads to be aware of the conditions and pay attention to the weather warnings.

"If it's not necessary to go out, don't. And if you have to go out heed the weather warnings," he said.

An amber alert is now in place from 3pm on Tuesday until 8am on Wednesday.

The Met Office has upgraded its snow and ice warning for Northern Ireland urging people to prepare for the worst. The meteorologist has also issued further yellow warnings for snow and ice until the weekend.

Weather caused disruption on Tuesday morning as the snow descended. The ambulance service said by 10.30am there was 10 crashes because of the treacherous driving conditions.

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Amber means there is an increased likelihood of bad weather which could potentially disrupt plans and possibly cause travel delays, road and rail closures, interruption to power and the "potential risk to life and property".

"Amber means you need to be prepared to change your plans and protect you, your family and community from the impacts of the severe weather," the Met office said.

Heavy, squally showers of snow will continue through Tuesday and into the night, with longer spells of snow for a time, especially in the evening.

"Over the hills, snow will drift in the strong to gale force winds," the Met Office said

"A gradual improvement is likely on Wednesday for most areas. Travel delays on roads are likely, as are public transport cancellations, and some vehicles may become stranded, more especially on higher routes. There is a chance of power cuts, while services such as mobile phone coverage may be affected. Some rural communities seem likely to become cut off. In addition roads and pavements will turn icy, increasing the chances of accidents or injuries."

Meanwhile yellow warnings for snow and ice are in place until Friday night.

A yellow warning means sever weather is possible and the public should plan for disruption.

The Department for Infrastructure said that around 300 staff and 130 gritters will be busy salting roads with 12 specialist snow blowers also available.

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