Further disruption expected with snow and high winds over weekend

More snow and sleet on way
More snow and sleet on way

Snow showers and strong winds across Northern Ireland over the weekend are likely to bring further traffic and travel disruption, forecasters have warned.

The Upper Hightown Road between Ligoniel and Mallusk was closed on Thursday night due to hazardous driving conditions, and heavy snowfalls also led to the closure of the Moyadd Road at Spelga in south Down.

Several bus services were operating on alternative routes throughout Thursday afternoon and evening.

The NI Ambulance Service (NIAS) was experiencing some difficulties responding to emergencies in some of the worst affected rural areas but all calls were responded to.

NIAS spokesman John McPoland appealed for members of the public to use the service wisely while the severe weather continues in coming days.

“We are asking people to only phone us in a real emergency and to be patient if there is any delay in us getting to them. We haven’t had to declare a major incident or anything – it’s just slowing us down a bit, particularly in rural areas,” Mr McPoland said.

A Meteogroup forecaster said the strong winds would continue today and through the weekend.

“We have got a very strong north, north-westerly wind across Northern Ireland so it’s going to bring cold conditions, some sunny spells, but also scattered heavy showers with the risk of some sleet, hail and maybe even some snow.

“Most likely in northern areas but tracking down across the whole of the country.

“Temperatures on Friday will be maximum of 5C so quite a chilly day with the strong winds,” he said.

The weather expert added: “The weekend will be unstable with strong winds and scattered showers – heavy at times – with a risk of hail, rain and sleet through most of the weekend.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty miserable weekend until late on Sunday when things will start drying up and the winds die down.”