'Exceptional Cold' Set To Continue

The NI Roads Service has been forced to deploy snow ploughs in many areas to clear roads, with conditions particularly treacherous in the Clough, Newcastle, Rostrevor and south Armagh areas.

They say that 11,000 tonnes of salt have been used on NI roads in the past week, as temperatures plummeted to record lows for November.

Some 90 schools have been closed including those in the Western Education and Library Board area where 15 primary schools and three colleges have been shut for the day due to the adverse weather conditions.

Meanwhile, in a repeat of similar incidents last year, Londonderry Roads Service vehicles were attacked in the Creggan and Gobnascale areas, a windscreen was smashed forcing drivers to withdraw leaving many roads untreated.

Overnight temperatures in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, were recorded at -8.5C and -7.1C in Enniskillen.

Also on Sunday, temperatures plummeted to the coldest on record for November in Northern Ireland, with -9.5C recorded at Lough Fea.

An MLA and Stormont Junior Minister, Robin Newton commented on the conditions: "Reports highlighting needless pensioner deaths over winter cold periods and the potential for an increase in the number of deaths due to the economic downturn are very worrying.
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"I would urge all senior citizens to make certain they are getting all the allowances they are entitled to; ensure they get their flu jab from the doctor; eat a warm meal each day; reduce energy costs as much as possible by closing doors keeping one room warm and wrap up well before going out," said the east Belfast DUP politician, who also urged neighbours to "spare a few minutes by popping next door to check on older people - it could also save a life", he concluded.

Across the border, the "exceptionally cold weather" is also expected to continue through the week, according to a weather warning issued by Met Eireann this morning.

The Irish weather agency said night-time temperatures would drop as low as -10ºC, and possibly lower, while daytime maximum temperatures are expected to stay within zero and 4ºC.

There are also further snow showers will occur with a high risk of significant accumulations in the east.

Meanwhile, according to AA Road Watch this morning, road temperatures remain as low as -8.7°C on the N81 at Baltinglass, -6.5°C on the N24 at Clonmel Relief Rd and on the -6.9°C at Pallas Grean and -5.5°C on the N11 Arklow Bypass.

Drivers are being advised to allow additional time before leaving to defrost their cars and to take extra time to get to destinations slowly and safely.

"Gentle maneuvers are the key to safe driving. Double your braking distance and allow plenty of space between you and other road users. Be mindful of pedestrians crossing the road and of cyclists.

"Stick to the main roads which are more likely to have been treated. Additional care is required on secondary roads, rural routes, hills and in housing estates."

In Leinster and Wexford, Gardai are advising motorists not to travel unless it is necessary. Conditions are extremely icy in Gorey and on Main St as well as the N11 Gorey bypass.

AA Road Watch also asked drivers to avoid driving on higher ground and mountainous areas, while in County Wicklow the Sally Gap & Wicklow Gap are impassable.


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