Spring showers replace winter blizzards

Published Monday, 24 March 2014
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It is one year on from some of the worst snowstorms to hit Northern Ireland in living memory, and farmers will be relieved to see no sign of potential 18ft drifts in the forecast for the weeks ahead.

Spring showers replace winter blizzards
A year ago, huge snow drifts gathered across parts of Northern Ireland. (© Pacemaker)

Last March, rescue teams were needed to battle through the unprecedented snow to reach some of those worst affected across parts of Counties Antrim and Down.

With electricity and water outages, roads impassable, homes buried under drifts and livestock trapped on hillsides, emergency services and other agencies worked to alleviate the situation.

Even Chinook helicopters had to be called into action to help provide vital supplies for cut off areas.

A month later, tens of thousands of animal carcasses had been recovered and some farmers were left to declare their careers over due to the severity of their losses.

Many of those affected are still struggling to find their feet again.

A lot of farmers were caught out as the sheep had just had lambs and the wee lambs had no hope - they were covered in snow, so anything that was out there was caught out big time.

Dessie Herron, sheep farmer

But this year, conditions are at least considerably more in tune with the time of year and UTV has returned to just some of the farms working to rebuild in the Glens of Antrim and the Dromara Hills.

It is lambing season once again - although the newborns have a much better chance than those born into last Spring's frozen wilderness.

Co Down sheep famer Dessie Herron recalls how last March's snow simply "couldn't have happened at a worse time".

While the Met Office is forecasting 'fresh' conditions, with temperatures hovering around 7/8C for most of the week and feeling cooler in the wind, spring showers should be mixed with sunny spells.

There is a chance of frost overnight, but that remains a world away from the sub-zero temperatures and relentless blizzards of a year ago.

And according to the long-range forecast, April should only bring more sunshine and showers.

The Met Office suggests: "Temperatures are likely to be around average for the time of year, though northern parts may be colder at times with some frosty nights still possible."

© UTV News
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