Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Snow and icy roads disrupt travel in Northern Ireland

Snow at Minnowburn in south Belfast
Gerard Callaghan took this photo of fun in the snow at Minnowburn Beeches in south Belfast

Snow and icy conditions have been causing problems for motorists on some roads in Northern Ireland.

Black ice affected Londonderry roads, including the Foyle bridge.

Gritting lorries have been out in force overnight, but motorists have been warned to drive with extreme caution even when on gritted roads.

Easyjet has cancelled a number of flights between Belfast International Airport and Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool and London Gatwick.

Belfast International Airport managing director John Doran said weather conditions should not cause difficulties there but cancelled in-bound flights would have knock-on effects during the day.

"If you have any concerns about disruption, contact your airline but otherwise come to the airport and check in as normal," he said.

The runway at City of Derry airport was closed for a time because of snow and ice, and the flight to Dublin was cancelled.

Denis Wilson from Roads Service said on Monday morning that the roads were particularly treacherous in the north west.

"We've got snow on the roads, we've got black ice, and things are really very bad at the moment," he said.

"We're trying to salt 4,300 miles of road in Northern Ireland, and that's a considerable undertaking.

"It's only about 27% of the road network, but it carries about 80% of the travelling public."

Several schools have been closed for the day, including:

  • Richmond Primary School in Ballygawley;
  • St Teresa's in Loughmacrory (school will remain closed on Tuesday);
  • St Patrick's Primary School in Gortin;
  • St Mary's Primary School at Granemore outside Keady;
  • Drumhillery Primary School in Middletown;
  • St Mary's Primary School near Cookstown;
  • Cookstown High School;
  • St Mary's Primary School in Ballygawley;
  • St Joseph's Primary School in Galbally, near Dungannon.

Belfast Zoo is shut due to the level of snow in the zoo site but is expected to open again on Tuesday, depending on the weather conditions overnight.

The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge on the north coast is also closed.

Another victim of the weather is comedian Russell Howard, whose show at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast has been cancelled.

The Mock the Week star was unable to travel from Manchester in time for Monday night's show.


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