Northern Ireland

How the snow has affected people in Northern Ireland

The snow and strong winds that struck Northern Ireland on Friday and over the weekend affected a wide range of people.

Some of them told the BBC of their experiences.

Matthew Elliott, Glens of Antrim

Image caption The glens of Antrim were particularly badly hit by the weather

"I've had to come out over the snow drifts, some of them 20ft (6.1m) high, to get insulin for my wife - she's insulin dependent - and some groceries.

"I got rescued last night (Saturday) and I'm just making my way back this morning again to my family, to bring some food and bring insulin for my wife.

"The conditions here are horrendous."

James McHenry, farmer, Glenariff

Image caption James McHenry in the shed where sheep were killed when the roof collapsed

The roof of a shed at Mr McHenry's farm collapsed, killing a number of sheep and lambs.

"The sheep have been our life and we've worked so hard.

"It has been a bad winter right through and we fed the sheep quite well and brought them into lamb and then this happens.

"It feels like part of us has gone."

Graham Stambridge, North West Mountain Rescue Team

Image caption A snow drift at Hannahstown Orange hall

"We're quite fortunate that most of our 13 members are very experienced personnel and regularly go up to Scotland to experience harsh weather conditions like these, but we have found that these have been challenging conditions over the last few days.

"The snow has been falling constantly, it is now getting much lighter there, but what we've found is the wind has been as much of a hazard in that it's been blowing the snow and we're getting very large drifts of over 18ft (5.5m) high which our teams have been battling.

"Thanks to Sport NI we have been equipped with specialised winter equipment particularly snow shoes which have helped because the snow has been very soft underfoot and it is particularly demanding to walk through that without any mechanical aids."

Lana Dunlop, Beech horse farm, Ballyalbanagh, County Antrim

Image caption Horses at Beech farm in Ballyalbanagh had to lick snow out of buckets

"I spent from 12 o'clock till half past seven on Friday with pots on the stove melting snow to get water.

"We just had to eke it out, plus what my neighbours gave me and we just had to limit the horses to what they got rationed to them.

"Yesterday, (Saturday) we put snow in buckets and let them lick it."

Randal Gilbert, Northern Ireland Electricity

Image caption NIE teams had to clear miles of roads to access faults

"We're dealing with in excess of 10ft (3m) drifts of snow.

"We've had snow-moving machinery out, but the likes of last night no sooner had we cleared roads than the snow was blowing back in again and they had to be re-cleared.

"We're finding in some particular faults, to get access to a single fault we're having to clear about four miles of road just to get to one single fault for one customer."

Stephen Harper, duty incident manager NIE

"We're working 24 hours a day and we're not going out of here until everybody gets connected"

"Usually we get storms coming in and they will come in and away in half a day, but this has gone on for two solid days.

"You're actually near enough walking on top of cars as you go through. It's horrendous.

"We've never seen it, and you think of those guys in really cold conditions, being very wet, having to climb poles. It is unbelievable what they have had to go through for two days."

William McLauchlan, householder

Image caption A broken electricity pole in a field beside William McLauchlan's home

"We've been without electricity from about 10 o'clock last night (Friday), although the previous night it had been flickering on and off.

"We discovered when we got up in the morning that there was a (electricity)pole broken here just in the field beside us.

"The wires thankfully haven't come down on the ground yet."

Ch Insp Tim Mairs, Police Service of Northern Ireland

"On Saturday, we monitored over 30 incidents where there were concerns for people who were isolated or at risk due to the weather.

"We worked with our partners to address a number of those, but in 10 instances we had to send search and rescue teams into those areas.

"In one instance that was actually our helicopter which airlifted in oxygen to a vulnerable man who couldn't be moved."

Tommy Millar, farmer

Image caption Farmers bringing out hay for their sheep

"It's the wind that's doing the damage, it's not the depth of the snow.

"The wind's blowing and it's burying lambs and ewes.

"I'm 45 this year coming, and never remember anything as bad."

Campbell Tweed, farmer, Cairncastle

Image caption Many rural roads have been rendered impassable

"It came in very quickly on us and it was really more severe than anything we expected. It's an exceptional event.

"Some of the sheep are getting their first feed since Thursday.

"Road conditions are just incredibly bad. There's places where the snow at the side of the road is higher than the vehicles.

"It's coming late in a very, very tough winter - it's just putting the tin hat on it for many of us.

"We've got a very difficult physical situation here, but there's going to be an incredible financial trail behind it as well."

Davy Wells, Methodist College rugby coach

Mr Wells was stuck with 36 under-12 rugby players overnight on a coach 20 miles from Stranraer in Scotland.

"The kids probably thought it was just an unexpected extension of their tour to be honest with you.

"They were very fortunate in a sense in that we got a supply of bread and jam and chocolate from McBurneys' lorries that were further up the queue with us.

"We had plenty of drinks supplied by the driver on the bus.

"We had numerous snow fights, got back on, got something to drink, something to eat. We had DVDs on the bus and the kids were very content."

Ben from Ballyclare

Ben has been without water since Friday.

"When it was really bad on Friday both the power and the water went off.

"On Saturday, when it had all calmed down a bit, the power came back on but the water stayed off.

"It's been pretty hard, we have no drinking water.

"In order to get it, me and my dad have been hiking over then fields and meeting people on the main road to buy bottled water from them."

Elaine McGaryl, mother-of-five who lives on a farm near Glenarm

Image caption Hundreds of livestock are believed to have perished in the snow

"It's been horrendous. It's beyond words, totally and utterly. Your whole livelihood's disappearing in front of you.

"It's been very difficult for the children. We ran out of bread and we ran out of milk.

"Last night with two of the older children we went a good quarter of a mile over snow drifts to meet up with a digger that brought us bread and milk and petrol.

"Up over drifts, sinking down to your waist and the wind and the snow blowing over you.

"We're badly off, but we have neighbours who are worse off. There's going to be a lot of for sale signs going on farms around here."

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