Slow thaw expected as Beast from the East loosens grip

Snow has affected various parts of Northern Ireland this week
Snow has affected various parts of Northern Ireland this week

Temperatures are set to rise slightly over the coming days following a week of sub-zero conditions and snow storms which are continuing to impact across parts of Northern Ireland.

The Met Office has predicted that temperatures in Northern Ireland will rise to a maximum of 5° Celsius tomorrow (Sunday) and could rise further by mid-week.

Although still below the average for this time of year, the forecast is expected to come as a welcome relief for many communities across Northern Ireland following widespread school closures, treacherous driving conditions and heavy snow falls in various urban and rural regions throughout the past week.

While some areas in Northern Ireland escaped the worst of the cold snap over recent days, others ground to a virtual standstill as a result of snow storms, with numerous events and sporting fixtures being postponed or called off.

Disruption continues today, mainly in eastern and southern regions, with some Belfast Metro bus services withdrawn this morning due to hazardous road conditions, and snow showers continuing to fall in various areas, including Banbridge.

The Met Office has said that today will see occasional snow in the south and east of Northern Ireland with slight accumulations in places, mainly over high ground, but has added that these will die out again later.

The northwest meanwhile will be mainly dry today and across Northern Ireland the strong and biting easterly winds experienced this week will ease gradually, with maximum temperature of around 3°C.

A Yellow warning for ice remains in place for many areas tonight through until 11am tomorrow.

Clear spells tonight will see temperatures dip below freezing once again with a frost in many places likely.

The Met Office has said that some occasional rain will reach Armagh and Down later in the night with snow on hills and minimum temperature of -2°C.

Tomorrow Sunday meanwhile will see a band of showery sleet or snow moving up from the south, turning to rain away from the hills with a “gentle thaw” expected.

The outlook for the first half of next week appears to be less cold with some showers, mainly of rain, although there is still a chance of some snow over hills.

Translink said it hopes to resume cross-border rail and bus services today after a red warning across the Republic resulted in cross-border rail and bus services being impacted over the past few days.

Speaking last night, a spokeswoman said: “The first cross-border Enterprise trains are now expected to run at 12.35pm from Belfast Central and 1.20pm from Dublin Connolly, however, this is subject to weather conditions.

“It is intended to continue to operate Enterprise services between Belfast and Newry.

“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.

“We continue to liaise with the relevant authorities and monitor the weather situation.

“All our up to date travel information is available on our Journey Planner, our website, Twitter account @Translink_NI and via our contact centre 028 90 666630”