Twenty-five crashes by rush hour as NI braces for more snow

Heavy snow on the A8 at Ballyboley on Tuesday
Heavy snow on the A8 at Ballyboley on Tuesday

More snowy conditions are expected in the days ahead after icy flurries gripped the Province on Tuesday, with a spate of road crashes taking place amid the wintry weather.

The lowest temperature in the Province on Tuesday, as of 9.30pm, had been –2C at Killylane in Co Antrim, whilst the highest snowfall reading was at Glenanne, Co Armagh, where 21cm (8.2 inches) fell.

A barrister makes her way through Belfast city centre on Tuesday

A barrister makes her way through Belfast city centre on Tuesday

The conditions brought transport headaches for many travellers.

From midnight to 5.30pm on Tuesday, the Northern Ireland Ambulance service said crews had been attended 25 road accidents – and that was before rush hour was over.

It typically deals with 13 per day, averaged across the year.

A spokesman for the service described the figure as “significant”, and urged caution on the roads.

Horses as snow falls near Divis on the outskirts of west Belfast

Horses as snow falls near Divis on the outskirts of west Belfast

A section of M1 motorway was reduced to one lane during the Tuesday evening rush hour due to the snowfall, and at night Metro bus services in Belfast were all suspended.

A number of schools also closed early.

Matt Roe, Met Office forecaster, said Wednesday will bring further snow showers in the morning “pretty much everywhere” in Northern Ireland, but particularly in the north of the Province, bringing perhaps 5cm (1.9 inches) of snow to hilly areas.

These will turn to rain or sleet in the afternoon, followed by the possibility of snow on hilly ground at night.

Temperatures are likely to dip to about –2C.

Thursday looks set to be “back to square one”, with “another day of sleet and snow showers” much like today.

Friday too will see “little change” to this pattern – although the weather is expected to become drier on Saturday following some early wintry showers.

A Met Office amber warning (meaning “be prepared to change your plans”) for ice and snow, covering all of Northern Ireland, was due to end at 8am this morning. There is also a lesser yellow warning for “very strong winds” from 9pm tonight to 11am tomorrow.