Unexpected snow causes traffic havoc

Weather-weary commuters in Donegal were in for a shock yesterday morning when they awoke to discover up to six inches of snow had fallen overnight. The result was traffic chaos, particularly at Drumkeen and Mountain top. Widespread flooding was also reported, with Burnfoot, Bridgend and the Gweebarra Bends being particularly badly affected.

Weather-weary commuters in Donegal were in for a shock yesterday morning when they awoke to discover up to six inches of snow had fallen overnight. The result was traffic chaos, particularly at Drumkeen and Mountain top. Widespread flooding was also reported, with Burnfoot, Bridgend and the Gweebarra Bends being particularly badly affected.

Louis McNern, owner of the Parkside Service Station at Trentaboy, Drumkeen, said he couldn’t believe the scene when he opened up at 7am.

“There was such a heavy snowfall and none of it predicted. Everyone was taken by surprise. At around 8.30, two articulated lorries had problems coming from the Ballybofey direction. They couldn’t make it up the hill and got stuck just before our garage. This caused a huge tailback, as the road is extremely busy in the morning. People told us that, by 9.30, the cars were backed up all the way to the T-junction at Kilross. That’s about four miles down the road.

“A local man, Adrian Sweeney was quickly on scene with his John Deere tractor and freed up the lorries. He also helped people in cars who were having problems. Adrian was definitely the hero of the hour today in Drumkeen!”

The Barnesmore Gap remained passable yesterday but the Meenaroy road was closed for most of the morning due to the snow. Three cars and two lorries were reportedly stuck there at one stage.

The Mountain Top area of Letterkenny was also badly affected. Long delays were due to a number vehicles struggling to make it uphill on the N56 approach from Kilmacrennan with up to two inches of snow covering the landscape. Much of the route was left covered with thick, compacted, ice making driving conditions difficult with traffic at a standstill for over an hour.

Conditions on the back of Errigal road at Dunlewey were also hazardous but was passable.

A number of schools were also forced to close due to the weather, including Lurgybrack National School and Ballinamore Vocational School in Fintown.

A spokesperson from Donegal County Council said they were due to begin gritting routes across the county from 8pm last evening and again from 6am this morning.

Met Eireann forecast it to be mostly cloudy tonight with rain at times in most places but drier periods developing also especially later in the night. Temperatures are due to fall again tomorrow night, with frost and ice forecast for Thursday morning.