Britons are getting set for a chilly Bank Holiday weekend as temperatures plummet – in stark contrast to the warmer climes seen this time last year and over the Easter holiday.
Many of us are still sporting tans from the glorious sunshine over Easter but the heatwave is now long gone, with unseasonably cold temperatures and even hail forecast for the May Day bank holiday weekend.
In the North East of England, a maximum of 9C (48F) is likely today, rising to 10C (50F) on Sunday.
Saturday 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.
People braving the rain to go punting on the River Cam in Cambridge
Huge waves pound Seaham lighthouse on the North East coastline as cold weather beckons for the bank holiday weekend
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.
The daytime average for the start of May is around 16C (61F) – and the top temperature over Easter was 77F (25C).
The coming weekend is a stark contrast to last year, when May Bank Holiday beaches across Britain were packed thanks to fine weather – including 28.7C (83.7F) at Northolt, north-west London, the warmest since records began in 1910.
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.
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.
People out punting on the river Cam in Cambridge today get court in one of the rain showers
‘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.’