Northern Ireland

Travel disruption likely as snow and ice take hold across the north

Snowfall is expected to affect higher areas in the north this week as a cold snap caused by an Arctic airmass takes hold. Picture by Mal McCann.
Snowfall is expected to affect higher areas in the north this week as a cold snap caused by an Arctic airmass takes hold. Picture by Mal McCann. Snowfall is expected to affect higher areas in the north this week as a cold snap caused by an Arctic airmass takes hold. Picture by Mal McCann.

HEAVY snow and ice this week could cause travel chaos in parts of the north, the Met Office has warned as temperatures plummet.

A yellow weather warning for cold conditions was in place on Monday evening, with snowfall expected in some parts - with higher ground most likely affected - and icy stretches on untreated surfaces.

The warning will remain in place for most of the week, with Tuesday also expected to bring hail amid snow showers in the north. Wednesday will see temperatures ease during the day, with no warning in place for Northern Ireland, but the cold will return overnight.

For Thursday and Friday, the yellow warning is for snow, with the Met Office suggesting parts of Northern Ireland, along with northern England and north Wales, are "expected to see the worst of the conditions on Thursday".

Affected locations could see snow of up to 20cm in the worst hit areas, meteorologists have said, while further warnings are "very likely" in the days ahead.

The yellow warning means that on Thursday, "there is a slight chance that roads may become blocked by deep snow, with many stranded vehicles and passengers".

It has also been suggested that the cold weather could lead to travel delays and cancellations, while in the worst-hit areas there is a risk of interruptions to services including power supplies.

Meanwhile, the icy weather is occurring as ongoing industrial action by Department for Infrastructure roads service staff continues.

The department said strikes over pay by union members could see the gritting of roads disrupted.

The Met Office has said the spring cold snap was the result of an "Arctic maritime airmass" passing over the UK and Ireland that could see temperatures in NI drop to as low as -6 degrees.

Its deputy chief meteorologist Steven Keates said: "Through Thursday and Friday the snow risk spreads to central and northern areas of the UK, though it’s not possible to pick out precise locations regarding who will see the heaviest snowfall. With a developing situation, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest forecast and further warnings are very likely."

Meanwhile, Met Éireann has issued a yellow warning for the whole of Ireland for Tuesday, after the cold snap began on Monday evening.

It has warned that "snow showers and icy patches are likely to cause some travel disruption".