Belfast Telegraph

Weather alert as arctic sees mercury plunge to -5C in Northern Ireland

By Lindsay Fergus

Arctic conditions that forecasters had warned about have taken hold as temperatures here plummeted to as low as -5C.

In October meteorologists had predicted a chilly winter was in store for Northern Ireland - and now with severe weather warnings in place for every county in the province, they appear to be coming true.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice here - days after winds and rain battered our coastline.

Overnight as much as five centimetres of snow was forecast, especially on higher ground with up to 10cm expected to fall on ground above 300 metres.

Drivers have been advised to take extra care on the roads as icy stretches will develop.

A Met Office spokesman said: "The public should be aware of continued difficult driving conditions and the possibility of travel disruption." However, the Department for Regional Development was prepared for the icy blast with gritters out on the roads from 5.30pm yesterday.

According to the Met Office, conditions on the roads could be treacherous with a lethal combination of rain and sub-zero temperatures.

Rain is forecast for today, Sunday and Monday.

And temperatures overnight were expected to fall to -5C with a high of 5C today.

However, meteorologists said that it would feel more like -1C or -2C.

Between now and Tuesday, overnight temperatures are expected to remain at freezing with a daytime high of 8C.

The winter conditions have already left snow on some of Northern Ireland's hills, and challenging conditions for livestock and wildlife including donkeys braving the elements on Divis Mountain.

Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry also rescued an exhausted grey seal pup from Portstewart yesterday evening.

It was a casualty of the weather bomb that hit on Wednesday.

Yesterday a major clean-up operation was under way on the North Coast where homes and businesses experienced the worst of the winds, rain and huge waves that left boats overturned in Portrush harbour.

Forecasters say it's still too early to say if we'll have a white Christmas.

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