Strong winds set to ease but bitterly cold weekend ahead

Pass the salt: a man tries to keep the snow at bay in Banbridge, Co Down, on Friday
Pass the salt: a man tries to keep the snow at bay in Banbridge, Co Down, on Friday

The bitterly cold weather affecting Northern Ireland will continue throughout the weekend, but the strong winds are expected to ease off over the course of Saturday, the Met Office has said.

Forecasters say the risk of snow or sleet will continue to affect higher ground for a couple of days, turning to rain by Tuesday.

A dog walker in Lisburn's Wallace Park on Friday...

A dog walker in Lisburn's Wallace Park on Friday...

Disruption in some areas has been patchy on Friday; whilst heavy snow continued to blanket some areas (with images from Katesbridge in Co Down for example showing drifts which could be measured in feet), other areas such as south-east Antrim remain largely untouched.

More than 400 schools were closed across Northern Ireland on Friday due to the expected disruption on the roads – including delays affecting a number of bus services.

Airports have remained open but passengers are advised to check with their airline before travelling.

A number of flights from Belfast City were cancelled on Friday, including some to London City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Southampton.

... meanwhile Minnie the dog enjoys a scoot across the totally snowless green in Greenisland housing estate, south-east Antrim, on Friday.''''Neither Knockagh monument (top right of image) or Cave Hill (a few of miles away in north Belfast) saw meaningful snow, despite their elevation.

... meanwhile Minnie the dog enjoys a scoot across the totally snowless green in Greenisland housing estate, south-east Antrim, on Friday.''''Neither Knockagh monument (top right of image) or Cave Hill (a few of miles away in north Belfast) saw meaningful snow, despite their elevation.

A spokeswoman for Translink said cross-border trains and bus services should resume on Saturday morning “subject to weather conditions and health and safety considerations”.

Enterprise service are expected to be operating from Belfast, commencing at 12.35pm from Belfast and 1.20pm from Dublin.

“An assessment of road conditions will also take place in the morning and decisions will be taken on X1 and X2 services from Belfast and X3 and X4 cross border services from Derry~Londonderry.

“All our up to date travel information is available on our website www.translink.co.uk, Twitter account @Translink_NI and via our contact centre 028 90 666630,” the spokeswoman added.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Farmers Union has issued a reminder to ensure water is available to livestock during this “extremely trying” time.

UFU president Barclay Bell said: “As we are in the middle of the lambing season, this very cold weather couldn’t have come at a worse time with many ewes either heavily pregnant or rearing young lambs.”