Schools, post offices, roads close as snow causes havoc across the Isle of Man; Airlift of food; Packet cancelled

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THE Steam Packet has cancelled all sailings till tomorrow morning at the earliest.

While the Ben-my-Chree’s 8.45am sailing is scheduled to leave Douglas, the Manannan’s Liverpool sailing is subject to disruption. A decision will be made at 6am tomorrow.

Bad weather hit the island overnight, with the west of the island being particularly badly hit. The weather is expected to get worse tonight, with more snow to come.

Many roads are closed.

Those affected include the road between Ballacraine and Ballaugh bridge, the Mountain Road, Tholt-y-Will and Beinn-y-Phott roads, the Foxdale road the to Mines Road junction, Ballakillowey road to Roundtable junction, Glen Road, Colby, to the Round Table junction.

All major routes will be gritted, and police have asked drivers to drive with caution and to the road conditions.

The Manx Electricity Authority has a significant number of customers off supply due to a combination of weather-related faults, including snow, ice on lines, high winds and fallen trees.

A spokesman said: ‘We have managed to restore supply to another 100 homes. However, access issues have hindered our efforts to restore supply to homes north of Peel through to Kirk Michael, including Cronk v Voddy, and in the North West Curraghs area.

‘It is extremely unlikely that we will be able to restore these remaining supplies before tomorrow. We recommend that customers make any necessary arrangements to stay warm and safeguard themselves. Should you have concerns regarding those who are vulnerable contact MEA 687687.’

The bus service is also badly disrupted.

The only routes operating are:

1 & 2 routes will only travel as far as the Manx Arms and then detour via Royal Avenue – Promenades and Lord Street.

11 & 12 the same as above.

5 & 6 will run main roads from Douglas to Peel only and return (ending at Queen Elizabeth II High School).

3 running as normal via Grandstand.

The Steam Railway has also been cancelled today. Neither it nor the Manx Electric Railway will operate tomorrow.

Several trees have fallen, leading to problems for traffic. The Department of Infrastructure has tweeted a photo of a tree on a vehicle’s roof.

The House of Manannan is now closed.

Manx National Heritage has decided to close the Laxey Wheel, Peel Castle and Castle Rushen tomorrow but will review the forecast conditions on Sunday as to whether to open these attractions.

It will try to open the Manx Museum and House of Manannan tomorrow as planned.

The Co-operative is chartering a plane to airlift food supplies to its stores on the Isle of Man, as severe weather disrupts scheduled ferry services.

The Co-operative, which has 10 stores across the island, is using a Hercules aircraft, which will fly from Manchester to Ronaldsway Airport later today (Friday).

It will carry around 18 tonnes of food and drink, including essentials and store cupboard staples, such as meat, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, enough to stock all the island’s Co-operative Food stores, including outlets in Douglas, Ramsey, Peel and Castletown.

The flight is due to leave Manchester between 6pm and 7pm today, with a flight time to the island of around 45 minutes.

A Department of Education and Children spokesman said all schools closed at about lunchtime today.

‘Parents are invited to pick up their children as soon as they are able to,’ she said. ‘No school will close until the last child has been picked up. School meals are being served as normal.

‘As it’s now the school Easter holidays, schools will reopen on Monday, April 8.’

Schools in the west of the island didn’t open at all.

All DEC youth and play clubs due to operate tonight are closed. All lettings of school properties tonight will be cancelled. Hirers will receive an email today. Due to road conditions the following schools have been closed: Michael, Foxdale, QEII, Peel Clothworkers and St John’s, in addition further schools have closed mid-morning they are: Jurby, Dhoon, Pre-school Centre at Pulrose, Bunscoill at St John’s, Sulby and Ballaugh.

All Department of Education and Children youth and play clubs due to operate tonight are closed. All lettings of school properties tonight will be cancelled. Hirers will receive an email today.

All post offices throughout the island will be closing at 3pm an there will be no collections of mail this afternoon.

The UK’s newspapers will not be flown in to the island today because of problems at Birmingham Airport, from where they were meant to be coming.

The civic amenity site in the north, west and east are closed.

Isle of Man Creamery delivery drivers have delivered to 90 per cent of homes and stores on the island overnight and through this morning. Drivers are still making deliveries where it is safe to do so.

The Isle of Man Met Office has forecast for further snow overnight with a covering possible of 5cm to 10cm accompanied by gale force winds.

Doorstep delivery drivers will be out later today to begin the deliveries that were due on Saturday morning, so deliveries might be earlier than expected.

A spokesman said: ‘The safety of delivery drivers is paramount to Isle of Man Creamery and, as there is a strong possibility that trees may be uprooted due to the high winds, and roads may be impassable, we do not want to put delivery drivers in any danger and have asked them to drive with caution and avoid areas that are treacherous.

‘Isle of Man Creamery wishes to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause customers who do not receive their deliveries and hope that customers will understand the difficulties in these circumstances.’

The Isle of Man Indoor Bowling Association’s annual general meeting, which was scheduled this evening at the NSC, is now postponed till March 28.

The planned under 18s disco at Port St Mary Town Hall this evening has been cancelled. The organisers will publish a new date soon.

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