The weather which once again brought Londonderry to a standstill for most of yesterday morning is thankfully set to end today, culminating in a high of 12 degrees this Saturday.
School closures, traffic jams and delays followed a night of heavier than predicted snowfall on Monday evening into Tuesday morning. Blizzard like conditions affected higher ground and areas between Ardmore and Newbuildings saw more than half a foot of snow fall in just under an hour causing snow ploughs to try and clear the area for the first time this Winter.
Londonderry was hardest hit in terms of school closures with a total of 31 schools closed yesterday morning. Both Foyle and Lisneal Colleges were closed and several private bus companies were forced to suspend their services for the morning rush hour due to often treacherous road conditions.
Local primary schools were also hit hard and on the city side both the Fountain primary school and the Model school were forced to close. The Waterside experienced similar difficulties with the Oakgrove, Ashlea, Listress and Newbuildings all unable to open their doors.
City of Derry airport managed to stay open throughout the morning but there were flight delays and bus routes across the county were also affected with the Ballymena to Limavady service being forced to stop at Kilrea. The morning train services from Londonderry to Belfast also experienced between a one and two hour delay.
The morning rush hour also proved difficult for those travelling from the Waterside to the city side and vice versa as difficult conditions at both ends of the Foyle Bridge caused traffic jams which took more than an hour to clear in some places as heavy tailbacks caused a domino effect. Motorists were advised to use the Craigavon bridge where possible.
Derry City Council advised that civic amenity sites at Park, Claudy and Glendermott Road had to remain closed but were pleased to announce that most local parks and museums were able to remain open with the exception of the Foyle Valley Railway.
The recent bad weather follows two months of intermittent snowy and icy weather but this week’s snowfall is in sharp contrast to March 2014, which although wet at the beginning of the month was warmer and drier than average as a whole.
From today though temperatures are set to climb gradually and will reach balmy double figures by the weekend. And forecasters do not predict a return to icy conditions for the rest of the month before the offical start of Spring on March 27.