21/12/2010

Winter's Grip Shows Little Sign Of Loosening

NI's deep freeze weather is showing little sign of a thaw as even suburban Glengormley recorded -13C at 8am this morning.

Temperatures plummeted to minus double digits across Northern Ireland overnight, with the severe weather continuing to grip with temperatures plummeting to as low as -17C at Katesbridge, Co Down.

As hundreds of schools were forced to remain closed on Tuesday and the disruption to commuters and Christmas shoppers continued for another day, there's no sign of the weather changing soon.

A ridge of high pressure will stay across NI up until Christmas Day and it will be cold - but generally dry with only a few snow showers in the north coast today.

However, rain is being forecast for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, which - along with above freezing temperatures - should begin a long-awaited thaw.

Meanwhile, Roads Service said motorists were advised that hazardous driving conditions would persist despite overnight salting and caution was advised and as many try to get home for Christmas, therer's some good news as Belfast's two airports are currently open but cancellations and delays are expected to continue due to mainland airport closures - with chaos at snow-bound Heathrow continuing to halt domestic flights at the world's busiest hub.
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George Best Belfast City Airport remains operational, however, it is experiencing cancellations and delays and has urged passengers to contact their airlines with regards to their flight status today.

A statement said: "Due to disruptions at London Heathrow, two bmi departures have been cancelled, BD83 and BD89 and three arrivals from London Heathrow have also been cancelled: BD80, BD86 and BD92."

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport is operating, although disruption to flight schedules may occur should weather conditions deteriorate further.

Translink said it was still experiencing "major disruption" to all its services on Tuesday.

Even doctors have been hit with the British Medical Association (BMA) paying tribute to the many medics across Northern Ireland who have been struggling in arctic conditions to get to work to keep hospitals and GP surgeries running.

Dr Stephen Austin, Deputy Chairman of the BMA's Council in Northern Ireland said: "In the worst weather for many years, the dedication of our local doctors, and indeed of all health service staff, is apparent.

"As doctors, our patients must come first. Despite the arctic conditions, doctors have been making best efforts not only to get to work, but to stay and cover for those colleagues who find themselves snowed in or running late due to poor road conditions," he said on Tuesday.

"This care for patients will continue over Christmas and New Year, with doctors and their colleagues working round the clock to make sure those in hospital receive the best care possible."

(BMcC/GK)

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