Widespread disruption across Northern Ireland after blanket of snow

There has been widespread disruption across Northern Ireland after heavy snowfall overnight.

Almost 200 schools have had to close and roads in Armagh, Down and Antrim were impassable due to the conditions.

Click here for a full list of school closures

There were scores of home without power overnight as NIE Network crews worked overnight against the conditions.

Flights were also disrupted and the Strangford Ferry has also been cancelled for Friday.

Despite an amber weather warning ending at 4am on Friday, a yellow weather warning remains in place meaning travel could continue to be disrupted.

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said road workers have gritted main roads throughout the early hours of Friday but urged drivers to 'exercise caution' on unsalted roads.

It comes amid industrial action being carried out by GMB and Unite unions which means many roads have not been treated. The unions say a resolution has not been found with the DfI regarding pay and a bonus.

Snow and strong winds created "blizzard-like" conditions across Northern Ireland through the night which lead to a number of road closures and power cuts.

Roads Closed/Impassable with Snow:

Co Armagh

  • B31 Armagh Road, Keady

  • Keady/ Newtownhamilton/ Markethill area (highground reported impassable)

  • Dunkirk Road, Waringstown- fallen trees

Co Antrim

  • Salting of the main roads has been undertaken overnight. However some roads on higher ground routes are still affected by snow and treatment is ongoing. Road users to be aware and are advised to exercise caution or seek alternative routes where possible. 

  • A52 Ballyutoag Road (Belfast to Nutts corner)

  • B38 Upper Springfield Road, Hightown

  • A57 Antrim Road, Crumlin

  • Dunmurry Lane, from Upper Malone Road to Glenburn Road

Co Down

  • Holywood - Church Road, and Whinney Hill

  • Ballygowan Road (hill section from A55 to cemetery)

  • Craigantlet Road (Ballybarnes Rd to Dunlady Road)

  • Holywood Road junction Dunlady Rd- Fallen telegraph pole

  • A24 Newcastle Rd Seaforde is currently down to one lane between Cottage Road and Seaforde Road

Elsewhere, police have confirmed that the Markethill Road, Collone, Armagh is now passable after being closed.

On Thursday evening, Belfast International Airport warned of delays after it closed a runway.

Later, in a statement on Twitter, a spokesperson said: "Runway has reopened and flights are arriving again. Delays can be expected as the adverse weather will impact operations. Our airfield teams are working hard to keep the runways open and passengers moving. If you are due to travel please contact your airline for updates."

Meanwhile, Belfast City Airport also warned of disruption to flights and urged the public to check on the status of their flight.

Some flights were re-routed or grounded entirely.

Various public transport services remain affected with many bus services in Belfast with diversions in place.

A fallen tree has caused the train line between Lisburn and Newry to be disrupted.

Conditions are expected to ease, however, the yellow weather warning remains in place until 2pm.

Periods of heavy snow have been forecast which may mean that some rural communities become cut off.

The Met Office warned of "atrocious" travel conditions.

Reporting live from Dromara on Thursday evening, Sarah McKinley said "as much as 20cm of snow could fall".

"A number of cars have got into difficulty at this busy commuting time."

Police have closed roads and NIE Networks, which manages the power grid has readied emergency teams.

Hundreds have been left without power across Northern Ireland. There was also disruption to public transport.

Power cuts reported across Northern Ireland.

An amber weather warning is the second highest alert level which can be issued by The Met Office so disruption to travel is likely.

On Thursday, David Porter of the Department for Infrastructure said: "Our plan is to get as much grit on the road before the weather closes in on us.

"We've been able to do precautionary grits yesterday afternoon.

"Overnight there has been a full gritting action across the whole scheduled network."

"Road users are reminded to exercise extra caution when travelling, particularly on untreated roads. Even though roads have been well gritted in the last 24-hour period, we cannot guarantee snow and ice free routes. "The Department thanks staff for their commitment to delivering this important public service."

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