Commuters facing more disruption as ice warning issued

The Met Office has warned that injuries and travel disruption are likely this morning due to icy surfaces across Northern Ireland.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 7:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 3:05 pm
A white vehicle makes its way along a snowy lane amid a bright and icy landscape on Divis Mountain yesterday
A white vehicle makes its way along a snowy lane amid a bright and icy landscape on Divis Mountain yesterday

The national forecaster’s Yellow Warning stated that ice was expected to form across Northern Ireland on Monday evening, with icy surfaces expected to last until Tuesday morning.

“Some injuries are likely from slips and falls on icy surfaces and icy patches will form on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths,” it warned.

The Yellow Warning, which lasts until 11am Tuesday, indicates that people should plan ahead and expect some disription to travel and daily life.

The view yesterday from the Castlereagh hills in south-east Belfast

The PSNI Tweeted: “Due to ice on many of the roads this morning please slow down and drive carefully. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.”

Police also warned drivers to avoid the Lisnevenagh Road, Ballymena and the Redhill Road in Dromore/Magheralin due to icy conditions.

Road Service advised the Ballyduff Road from Carnmoney Road to Doagh Road has been closed due to difficult conditions.

While the blanket of snow made for picturesque scenes at the weekend, it also created havoc for commuters yesterday morning as it compacted into ice on roads and footpaths.

The view yesterday from the Castlereagh hills in south-east Belfast

Motorists were urged to take care as a yellow weather warning for ice was also in place until midday on Monday.

The Met Office confirmed that Sunday was the coldest night of the year in NI so far, with -9.6 degrees recorded in Katesbridge, Co Down.

And the national forecaster told the News Letter last night that temperatures overnight on Monday could plummet even further.

Another yellow weather warning was issued yesterday that icy conditions will continue until around 11am today.

While rush hour commuters were badly hit by the inclement weather, it also caused disruption for schools, airports and bus services.

Ten schools – mostly in the Belfast area – were forced to close yesterday due to the weather conditions.

Meanwhile, passengers at Belfast’s two airports faced a second day of misery as a number of flights were disrupted.

At the George Best Belfast City Airport, flights to London Heathrow were cancelled, while a number of other routes were hit with delays.

There was a similar story at Belfast International Airport, where several planes were delayed, including a Ryanair flight to Lanzarote, which was delayed for over five hours. Meanwhile, an inbound easyJet flight from Amsterdam was cancelled.

Translink bus services were also disrupted due to icy and foggy conditions, including Ulsterbus services in Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Banbridge, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Newtownards, Omagh, the north coast and north west.

Metro routes in Greater Belfast serving locations on higher ground were also affected.

However, NI Railways services were not impacted.

Police issued a number of warnings about perilous road conditions across the Province, with a number of roads closed due to black ice.

In one incident, officers responded to a report of a car on fire on the A1 yesterday morning. The driver had placed a blanket on the engine overnight and forgotten to remove it. Nobody was hurt although police said the driver was “more than a little embarrassed for the trouble caused”.

Over the weekend, NI Electricity networks experienced around 30 faults due to the snow. A spokesman said the faults affected about 4,500 customers, with over two-thirds having their power restored within three hours.

There has been disruption in Northern Ireland since the first flurries of snow arrived on Friday.