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Snowy NI recalls Big Freeze of '63

Skating on Lough Erne during the Big Freeze of '63.

Fifty years on from the Big Freeze of 1963, Northern Ireland is in the grip of another wintry spell - but this time round, there's no ice-skating on frozen Lough Erne or emergency supplies being delivered by helicopter.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013
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It was actually Boxing Day 1962 when the snow began to really fall across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK during one of the worst winters on record, and the weather didn't let up until March.

While present day conditions are proving tricky, with motorists having to take extra care and many schools closed, the Big Freeze saw even the sea turn to ice in places just off the coast.

Temperatures plummeted well into double figures below zero and, when it came to measuring the snow drifts, it was definitely in feet not inches.

As picturesque as it was to see skating and ice-hockey on Lough Erne, many people were cut off and left shivering without light or heating.

Cars, buses and trains ground to a standstill and even undertaking emergency deliveries by helicopter was a dangerous business.

So while the snow of 2013 may be an inconvenience, it could always be worse ...