Extreme snow storms grinds district to a halt.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Extreme snow storms grinds district to a halt. thumbnailMOTORISTS struggled with the driving conditions on Thursday morning.

THE district was brought to a total standstill last week as 'The Beast from the East' and Storm Emma combined to bring some of the worst weather the country has seen in years.

An amber warning weather was put in place for snow on Thursday and Friday, meaning that there was a risk to life and property.

Meanwhile, over 50 schools in the area were forced to shut their doors for the safety of both pupils and staff and all outpatient clinics, except the Maternity Units and Mandeville Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital, were also closed by the Southern Trust.

Roads in Counties Armagh and Down were some of the worst affected by the inclement weather as the A1 was reduced to one lane as snow ploughs tried to battle the barrage of snow.

A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure warned the public on Thursday and Friday to only travel if it was absolutely necessary.

"The ongoing sub-zero temperatures are impacting the effectiveness of salting operations and road users should exercise caution if travelling throughout the day," said the spokesperson.

"The road network in the south east of Northern Ireland has been severely impacted by snow and an amber warning has now been issued for this region.

"Resources are now focused on clearing snow from main roads and snow ploughing is ongoing.

"Given the conditions in these areas are extremely difficult, the Department is encouraging local people to travel only if essential.

"The Department will continue to monitor the weather, however, with continuing sub-zero temperatures forecast and yellow warnings in place across Northern Ireland until Saturday, road conditions are likely to continue to be difficult for the next few days."

Daisy Hill Hospital was just one of the sites that the Southern Trust decided to shut down for patient safety, as all outpatient clinics were cancelled due to the snow storms.

Writing on the Trust's Facebook page on Thursday morning, a spokesperson said: "All hospital outpatient clinics, except Maternity and Mandeville, are cancelled today and tomorrow on all sites.

"All community outpatient clinics are cancelled today and tomorrow. Resource and day care centres will be closed tomorrow.

"Some surgery is going ahead. In the event of cancellations patients will be contacted directly.

"If in doubt, please check before you travel and keep safe.

"All patients will be re-booked as soon as possible." The weekend's local sporting programme also took a massive hit thanks to Storm Emma.

Newry City's tie against Matthew Tipton's Portadown at Shamrock Park was cancelled on Friday night, while the Carnbane League and Newry Darts League were totally wiped out.

Eamonn Burns' Down squad was also due to travel to Cavan, while Kieren McGeeney's side were preparing to take on Derry at the Athletic Grounds in their Allianz Football League games.

Both of the Round Five games have been moved to this weekend.


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