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Snow causes disruption for commuters and schools across Northern Ireland

Enjoying the snow on Divis Mountain. Picture by Mal McCann
Marie Louise McConville

MOTORISTS are urged to "drive to suit the conditions and take extra care" on the roads after snow and ice were forecast to continue over the weekend.

Traffic came to a standstill in Belfast and in many other towns and cities today during rush hour as commuters were forced to slow down in treacherous conditions.

Several centimetres of snow fell around Northern Ireland during the night with more on higher ground.

While some road users took longer than usual getting to work, other had to abandon cars by the roadside until snow showers had eased off.

During the morning rush hour, there were reported collisions in Belfast, Co Fermanagh and Co Down.

There were long delays in particular along the A1 close to Dromore following a collision close to Milebush Road.

An electricity pole was hit during the crash, leaving the road partially obstructed. The incident carried on throughout the day while engineers from Northern Ireland Electricity carried out repairs.

In north Belfast, a motorist, who escaped unhurt, struck a telephone pole at Landsdowne Road at around 6.30am.

A car crashed into a telephone pole at Lansdowne Road, off the Antrim Road in north Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

There was further disruption for some families after almost 50 schools announced closures due to the icy conditions.

Primary and secondary schools closed in Belfast, around Co Down and Co Armagh.

On the way to school in west Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

The Rathlin ferry service was also cancelled because of the weather while some flights were also affected.

Belfast Zoo also remained closed. As a result, the popular tourist attraction had to cancel its Wildlife Wonderland event, which will not take place tomorrow either.

The adverse weather conditions also led to the closure of Downpatrick Courthouse with cases being adjouned until Monday.

Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

Belfast City Council said there had also been disruption caused to some bin collections "due to the bad weather".

However, while the snow caused disruption for motorists, some young children took advantage of a day off school to play in the snow.

Snow falls in Crumlin. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Paul and Ollie Forbes enjoying the snow.Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

On Divis Mountain, professional snowboarders were among those who braved the cool temperatures to enjoy the snowfall.

Picture by Mal McCann

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice issued on Thursday is due to remain in place until 6pm today.

A spokesman for the Department for Infrastructure last night said that salting of the road network had been "ongoing" with snow ploughs also in operation.

"However, despite the best efforts of the Department there is no guarantee of ice free roads even after salting as showers can wash salt off the road and ice may form," he said.

"The Department provides salt boxes and salt piles off the main salted network for use by the public on a self-help basis. Where necessary these will be replenished as soon as practicable".

He added: "Road users are reminded to exercise caution when travelling, particularly when driving on untreated roads"

Picture by Mal McCann

Walking through the snow In Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

A magpie sits on a snow covered cross in Milltown Cemetery. Picture by Mal McCann

Palm trees and snow covered crosses in Milltown Cemetery, Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

Heavy snow showers overnight have led to disruption across parts of Northern Ireland Ballyculter near Strangford picture Bill Smyth.

Heavy snow showers overnight have led to disruption across parts of Northern Ireland Ballyculter near Strangford. Picture by Bill Smyth

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