As wintry showers of sleet, hail and snow blew in over the Ballymena area this afternoon a travel warning has been issued.
Conditions on the roads between Cargan and the Glens of Antrim are already known to be worsening and with an amber warning of snow in place for this evening, the public are being advised that the Met Office forecast is for period of very wintry weather, with the potential for snow and strong winds.
Tomorrow, showers will turn increasingly wintry and it is expected that Thursday morning could potentially see up to 10cm of snow across parts of Northern Ireland.
“TransportNI has 300 staff and around 120 gritters on standby to salt main roads to help drivers to cope with wintry conditions. However, motorists and public transport users should keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared for disruption to their daily commute, allowing plenty of time when planning a journey.,” said a spokesman.
“During periods of snow, you may have to drive at a fraction of the speed you would normally drive at to keep safe. This means it may take considerably longer to reach your destination during wintry weather.”
TransportNI will try to ensure that motorists are kept fully up to date with road conditions. Information on gritting is relayed electronically to the media to ensure the latest news on road conditions is available to motorists.”
Tony Baker, the Met Office Meterologist who is currently embedded with TransportNI, said: “The Met Office has issued an Amber warning for snow valid from 5pm this evening through to 11am tomorrow. This means there is the potential for snow showers to cause disruption to rush hour traffic this evening and tomorrow morning.
“Snow showers will continue throughout the evening with the potential for 2-5cm in quite a few areas, with nearer 5-10cm in the worst hit areas where snow showers become frequent. The higher parts of the Sperrins and Antrim hills could see over 15 cm.
“Accumulations will slowly build-up overnight but as always, some places will see more snow than others, with some places inevitably seeing only small amounts. With gusty winds of 40-50mph around showers, some drifting of snow is likely at higher levels.
“The public should be prepared for possible travel disruption and keep up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and warnings at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk during this wintry spell.”