Deep freeze continues

Sub zero temperatures continue to cause chaos in the borough

With temperatures on Monday plummeting to minus 11, hundreds of schoolchildren were forced to start their holidays early, as many schools took the decision to close until the New Year.

And the bad news is that it doesn't look like a thaw will happen soon, with meteorologists predicting a 'horrendously cold' week ahead. Temperatures in Coleraine are expected to remain up to -10 degrees until Thursday at least.

As the freezing conditions continue, schools, health services and businesses have been badly disrupted.

The borough's hoteliers and pub owners have been left counting the cost, with many reporting large numbers of Christmas cancellations, on what should have been one of their busiest weekends of the year. Christmas trade has also been badly hit in local towns with many people choosing to stay at home.

One trader said: "This has been the worst year in living memory. The snow has stopped customers coming out, I have never seen it so bad. It's a total disaster."

Ulsterbus services have also been affected, and Royal Mail is hoping to put on extra evening deliveries in a bid to deal with the huge backlog.

Throughout the weekend Road Service staff carried out salting and snow-ploughing operations in a bid to clear the main roads of the area.

Despite the ongoing operations, Road Service is warning drivers that conditions are hazardous with freezing fog in many parts of the borough.

And, as many students try to get home for Christmas, airports are advising travellers that they could face long delays, as many of the airports on the mainland remain closed.

Sporting fixtures were also wiped out at the weekend, with hockey, rugby and football games being cancelled.

Many of the areas golf courses were also forced to close