Big freeze to last all weekend in NI

Patrick Morgan pictured shovelling snow in Belfast
Patrick Morgan pictured shovelling snow in Belfast
  • Yellow warning in place for Saturday and Sunday

Children across Northern Ireland rejoiced on Friday as snow forced dozens of schools to close, even if their parents might not have been so happy.

The big freeze is expected to continue over the weekend with as much as 10-20cm of snow falling in some parts of the Province today, and 2-5cm likely across other parts of the UK.

Snow falls in Crumlin as heavy snow falls across Northern Ireland on Friday morning

Snow falls in Crumlin as heavy snow falls across Northern Ireland on Friday morning

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The Met Office has a yellow weather warning in place for all of Northern Ireland, both for Saturday and Sunday.

However, by Monday morning, things should be getting back to normal before a chill sets in again at the end of next week.

Met Office forcecaster Ollie Claydon said: “Northern Ireland is one of the places that could see those top values of maybe 10-20cm (of snow), especially in the remote areas and higher ground.”

Anna Cousins pictured during the heavy snow at Stormont in Belfast.

Anna Cousins pictured during the heavy snow at Stormont in Belfast.

The coldest day-time temperature recorded in Northern Ireland yesterday was in Co Antrim, he said, where at the Killylane weather station minus 0.4 degrees Celsius was recorded.

He continued: “In terms of forecast temperatures, we are widely expecting highs of around two (on Saturday) but the winds won’t be quite as strong as they had been today (Friday), but still a cold day.”

Overnight, he said, temperatures could plunge as low as minus seven.

“It is certainly a cold couple of nights,” he added.

A Donkey takes shelter from  the snow on Divis Mountain

A Donkey takes shelter from the snow on Divis Mountain

Asked how the icy conditions compare to previous years, Mr Claydon continued: “We are into winter now so it is not really unexpected. The average temperature for Northern Ireland is 4.5 degrees for December so while we are a little bit below that, it isn’t necessarily unusual to see these sorts of temperatures.”

Sunday is likely to see more consistent snowfall than Saturday and as for next week, Mr Claydon said: “Going into Monday, we are into milder conditions. To give you a bit of an idea, the Monday temperature for Belfast is six degrees.”

While some might be tempted to look ahead and predict a white Christmas, the Met Office forecaster said it is simply too soon to tell whether this is likely.

Mr Claydon said that Christmas is “unfortunately too far ahead” to make an accurate prediction, but he did note that the Met Office’s “more generalised” UK-wide forecast for the period December 23 to January 6 doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility.