Misery on roads ... and more snow on the way

An ambulance in attendance near The Outlet, Banbridge.  Paul Byrne Photography
An ambulance in attendance near The Outlet, Banbridge. Paul Byrne Photography

Motorists faced another day of weather-related misery on the roads on Friday with many areas of the Province affected by snow and ice.

The cancellation of some rural bus services also led to a number of school closures in parts of counties Antrim, Down and Tyrone.

Several roads blocked by fallen trees from Thursday’s stormy weather remained closed due to continuing adverse weather.

The Met Office has warned of the potential for more snow and icy conditions with temperatures not expected to rise much above 3C.

Saturday night will be significantly colder again with overnight lows of minus 6C across Northern Ireland followed by a day of sleet and snow showers on Sunday.

Neil Megaw, principal of Newtownhamilton High School, Co Armagh, said Friday morning was particularly bleak.

“Over 80 per cent of our pupils come into school by bus but it was evident the bus drivers did not feel they could risk going out.

“No school is able to function when 80 per cent of its pupils are not able to attend. So we put the message out on our website and on Facebook this morning that we would be closed.”

The school has 170 pupils aged from 11 to 16, many of whom he imagined would have spent the day making snowmen and snowballs instead, he said.

Mr Megaw added: “The bus drivers just felt they would not be able to drive on them.”

Five-year-old Kaitlyn McMurray, from Dromore, Co Down, couldn’t wait to get home from school to build a “snowgirl” with her little sister, Victoria. Her only complaint? “The snow was a bit too cold for my hands - but it was still good fun,” she said.

A leading age charity has urged the government to help improve the energy efficiency in homes of homes to avoid cold-related deaths.

Information on winter care for the elderly is available on the Age NI advice line: 0808 808 7575.