Belly of the Beast

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Belly of the Beast thumbnail The Bailie family from Newtownhamilton made this incredible snow sculpture of a bull at the weekend.

THE 'Beast from the East' brought major disruption to the Armagh area as rural communities were cut off due to heavy snowfall and motorists struggled in the icy conditions.

Deep snow levels, compounded by the arrival of Storm Emma, proved to be a challenge for residents in outlying parts of the area, particularly in South Armagh as farmers deployed tractors to help clear roads.

Many major businesses were also affected, including Linwoods, which was forced to cancel its van deliveries for the first time in 35 years last Friday (March 2).

Even the city did not escape the 'Beast's wrath' as the severe weather resulted in ceiling damage at Orchard Leisure Centre, forcing its closure last Saturday (March 3).

The damage was localised to the centre's cafe and a spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council confirmed that the Orchard had reopened at the start of this week.

"The Orchard Leisure Centre is open to the public, however, as a result of the severe weather damage was caused to the ceiling in the café area," they explained. "The damage has been assessed and while minor repair works will need to be carried out, the Café will be operational by tomorrow (March 6)."

The development comes as the council confirmed that it had selected the site for the £30m Armagh Leisure Village scheme - which will replace the Orchard centre when it opens in 2023.

It has been a busy week for council officials, some of whom came to the aid of Southern Trust workers by providing transport in the harazrdous conditions by getting them to hospital and health sites as well as helping domilicary workers get to their clients.

Elsewhere, dozens of schools were closed for two days and commuters struggled to get to work as transport services were wiped out by the severe weather.



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