Wintry conditions in North likely until midweek


The Met office has warned motorists in the North to exercise caution as temperatures continue to fall and further wintry showers are predicted. A severe weather warning has been issued of black ice on untreated roads.

Motorists have been urged to drive only if their journeys are absolutely necessary. The Met office has predicted that Antrim and Derry will be particularly badly affected. Temperatures are expected to fall to as low as -4 degrees.

The freezing conditions are likely to continue until Wednesday at least when the temperature is expected to rise back towards 8 degrees due to southerly winds.

Various sporting events have been affected. Irish League matches at Omagh and Crusaders have been called off. A rugby match between Harlequins and Malone and senior league hockey matches were also cancelled.

There have been several minor delays on railway lines across the North after the weather caused points on the tracks to freeze. Citybus services were also affected by the freezing conditions.

However, it is hoped that New Year's Eve celebrations outside Belfast City Hall will go ahead as planned. Belfast's Lord Mayor, Mr Jim Rodgers, said he hoped that the Radio One dance party would not be cancelled. Thousands of people are expected to be present at the festivities.

Last year's celebrations had to be switched to inside the Ulster Hall due to freezing weather.

According to Met ╔ireann, the warmest day in 2001 was July 28th, when an air temperature of 26.9 degrees was recorded at Dublin Airport. The coolest day was on March 1st, when temperatures dropped to -9 degrees, as measured by the weather station at Baldonnel in Co Dublin.

It was not a particularly wet or windy year with the maximum rain days of 248 days recorded at Belmullet in Co Mayo. The lowest number of rain days were recorded at Rosslare, Co Wexford, where just 188 were noted.

The highest wind was recorded at Malin Head last Thursday night/Friday morning, December 27th/28th, when winds gusting to 74 knots were noted. The highest daily number of hours of sunshine was recorded at 14.9 hours, at Clones in Co Monaghan on May 23rd.