SNOW, rain and frost could make May Day Bank Holiday the coldest EVER

What a difference a fortnight makes! SNOW hits the UK as May Day Bank Holiday is set to be the coldest EVER (making Easter’s heatwave a distant memory)

  • Temperatures only up to 12C (54F) in South this weekend, while Scotland could fall to –5C (23F) overnight
  • Frosts possible in parts of the Pennines and Welsh mountains, while snow could fall in northern Scotland
  • Lowest ever temperature on May bank holiday weekend was -6.4C (20.5F) in Scotland in 1981 and 1988
  • Contrast to 2018 when London got to 28.7C (83.6F) on hottest early May bank holiday Monday on record

Two weeks ago, the nation was slapping on the sun cream over a bank holiday weekend – but, this time, we are again reaching for our winter woollies and even snow shovels in some areas.

For Britons have been warned to expect a chilly feel to this bank holiday weekend, with snow already falling in Scotland today and temperatures in many areas expected to only just reach double figures amidy frosty nights. 

Forecasters predict an east-west divide, with sunshine and showers in the East and fine conditions elsewhere. But even the South may struggle to reach 12C (54F) this weekend, while Scotland could fall to –5C (23F) overnight.

In the North East of England, a maximum of 9C (48F) is likely tomorrow, rising to 10C (50F) on Sunday. The daytime average for the start of May is around 16C (61F) – and the top temperature over Easter was 77F (25C).

A BMW 328 car drives on the A939 near Tomintoul in Moray today after there was a dusting of fresh snow overnight

Daffodils are pictured this morning at the side of the A939 near Tomintoul, which is one of Scotland’s highest villages

A car drives past a house on the A939 near Tomintoul in Scottish Highlands today which has had a dusting of fresh snow 

A sign warns of sheep for two miles on the A939 near Tomintoul in Moray today which has experienced snowfall overnight

The RAC calculate drivers will take to their cars for 13million leisure trips this weekend. Tomintoul in Moray is pictured today

A Ford Transit van drives past a coach on the A939 near Tomintoul in Moray where there was a dusting of fresh snow today

Frosts are possible in parts of the Pennines and Welsh mountains, where temperatures could fall as low as -3C (27F) tonight and tomorrow night. Higher overnight temperatures of 3C (37F) to 5C (41F) are forecast elsewhere. 

The lowest temperature ever recorded on the early May bank holiday weekend was -6.4C (20.5F) in Grantown-on-Spey in 1981 and then again in Kinbrace in 1988 – a figure that could be beaten this weekend in Scotland. 

Photographs showed snow falling this morning near Tomintoul in Moray, one of Scotland’s highest villages. It is a stark contrast to 2018, when the mercury hit 28.7C (83.6F) at RAF Northolt in West London, making it the hottest early May bank holiday Monday and weekend since records began.

Last month brought the hottest Easter Monday since records began in 1910, as temperatures peaked at 77F (25C) in West London and Wisley, Surrey. The previous record of 75F (24C) was set in Hampshire in 2011. 

The chill is being caused by an area of high pressure, set to drag a mass of Arctic air southwards. The Met Office said today will be ‘cloudy for many, with showery rain moving slowly southwards across England and Wales’.

Tomorrow will see a cold and frosty start for many with possible heavy showers for the Midlands and South East, and a risk of hail. Sunday is set to be dry except for showers in the North East, continuing into Monday.

Andy Page, Met Office chief meteorologist, said: ‘After cold, frosty starts and cool days for many across the Bank Holiday weekend, daytime temperatures will gradually recover early next week. 

Sunseekers enjoy the unusually warm spring weather on Brighton beach on Good Friday at the start of the Easter weekend

The conditions this weekend will be a stark contrast to Easter Monday, which saw people flock to Broadstairs in Kent (above)

People enjoy the sunshine at The Meadows in Edinburgh on Easter Monday as the UK enjoyed warm weather last month

‘However, they will not come near the high values we saw over the Easter weekend.’

Bank holiday travellers face more disruption

Parts of Britain’s railway will shut down for the second time in three weeks this weekend as major engineering work is carried out.

No trains will run to or from London Euston between Saturday and Monday while work in preparation for HS2 is carried out.

Network Rail, the Government-owned company responsible for Britain’s rail infrastructure, warned this will have a ‘major impact on journeys’ as alternatives routes will take longer and be busier than usual.

Virgin Trains, which operates services from London Euston on the West Coast Main Line, is urging passengers to ‘avoid travelling on these dates unless you absolutely have to’.

Other engineering work taking place over the May Day bank holiday weekend includes track renewal work in the South West.

This will see buses replace trains between Bristol Parkway and Newport, as well as disruption to trains from London to South Wales.

Upgrading of overhead wiring in Essex means no trains will run on the Shenfield to Southend Victoria/Southminster routes, while Thameslink services will be amended due to track replacement work in London.

The disruption comes just two weeks after a number of lines were closed over Easter.

Network Rail says it aims to carry out major projects over bank holidays because fewer passengers use the railway during those periods.

There will be further disruption at the end of the month during the late May bank holiday weekend.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘Passengers want and deserve a more reliable railway, and over the May bank holidays thousands of railway workers will be out on the track and working behind the scenes to deliver just that.

‘While most of the railway network will be open as usual, some routes will be closed, so if you are thinking about travelling please plan ahead.’

Thirteen million leisure trips are expected to be taken by car between Friday and Sunday, according to RAC research, making it the busiest May Day bank holiday on the roads since 2016.

Friday is set to see the most traffic with 4.4 million leisure trips being made, as many people embark on a getaway to make the most of the three-day weekend.

Drivers are urged to avoid travelling between 4pm and 7pm to avoid the worst queues. 

Rain and gales are possible in the South, the South West and Wales on Tuesday.

Speaking about the forecast for Scotland, Grahame Madge of the Met Office said: ‘It will feel very cold at the weekend, especially after the great weather we enjoyed at Easter. 

‘What we are expecting is a weather ‘battleground’ as we are seeing influences from all parts of the compass. Higher parts of the country, including the Highlands, will see some snow over the weekend, as will the Southern Uplands.

‘It will be a cold and frosty start to Saturday but the day is expected to produce plenty of sunshine as well. That will help keep up day time temperatures, even though it is a cold air mass moving down from an Arctic direction.

‘It will feel chilly but it shouldn’t stop you getting out and about this Bank Holiday – even if you need extra layers.’

Mr Madge added: ‘We might see night-time temperatures getting pretty cold. The cities should not drop too far below freezing but in sheltered spots in the north of Scotland, expect it to get down to –3C, –4C or possibly even –5C over the next few days.’ 

The RAC calculate drivers will take to their cars for 13million leisure trips this weekend, the busiest for three years.

Spokesman Rob Dennis said: ‘Despite it looking like the weather will take an unusually-cold turn for the start of May –certainly after the recent Easter heatwave – our figures suggest drivers are still keen to make the most of the long weekend.

‘Significantly more [people] are planning a leisure trip by car this year than in recent years.’

Roadworks will result in the overnight closure of four sections of the A87 at Invergarry, Inverness-shire from tonight.

Conditions are not much better on the railways. Virgin Trains strongly recommend against travel to London this weekend, when Euston Station will be closed until Tuesday morning.

Limited replacement services will be provided from Glasgow and Edinburgh but Virgin said: ‘Avoid travelling on these dates unless you absolutely have to.’

Day-trippers on the Clyde Coast face delays due to ship refit work and improvements to Rothesay Quay on Bute.

CalMac warns only one ferry will run services on Monday on the Gourock to Dunoon route and an amended timetable will operate on the popular Wemyss Bay to Rothesay crossing.

Edinburgh Airport expects move than 180,000 passengers through the terminal this weekend. Glasgow expects 100,000, going to destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Dubai.

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