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Emergency planning arrangements in place as bad weather begins to hit

Martin McCann Photography

Multi-agency responders held a meeting earlier today as bad weather is set to hit Northern Ireland this afternoon.

Snow and ice has been predicted right across the country, with a Met Office yellow warning now in place in Co Armagh right up until midday on Thursday.

Tuesday will bring the worst of the weather with snow predicted through the day with the heaviest of that between 5-10pm.

The Department for Infrastructure say its winter safety service is ready to keep people moving on our roads.

Around 300 staff and 130 gritters will be available to salt main roads to keep traffic moving safely and freely.

Twelve specialist snow blowers are also available to be deployed if required.

John Irvine, Head of Network Services, Department for Infrastructure, said: “Every year our winter service operation remains in place from November to April to ensure 7,000 kilometres of the road network on the salting schedule remains open.

“With a warning for snow and ice currently in place and some disruption on our roads likely, the Department’s winter service team will be working today and through the night if necessary.

“So far this year 43,000 tonnes of salt has been spread on our roads and a further 77,000 tonnes is stockpiled and ready for use.

“Five thousand salt bins and 50,000 grit piles provided on a self-help basis on routes not included on the salting schedule have also been replenished.”

The Department is advising the public to consider their travel arrangements over the next few days and be aware of weather updates.

Motorists should exercise caution and drive with due care and attention in the more challenging conditions that snow and ice can bring.

John Irvine continued: “Despite our best efforts it is important to remember that we cannot guarantee ice free roads even after salting, as showers can wash salt off the road and ice may form.

“We all need to be mindful of the changing conditions and adjust the way we drive, ride or cycle to ensure it is appropriate for the conditions.

“The best advice is in the Highway Code, take extra care even if roads have been salted, be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances and take care when overtaking gritters.”

Multi agency responders met earlier today and are continuing to monitor the weather and have emergency planning arrangements in place to deal with any weather impacts.

Information about road conditions is available at www.trafficwatchni.gov.uk

Information and advice, including about driving in adverse weather conditions, can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk/snow-ice

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