By Nathan Rao
THE bitter Bank Holiday weather could last for weeks, forecasters warned last night.
Icy winds will send temperatures plunging today before torrential rain returns next week.
This weekend looks set to be the coldest start to May for more than 70 years and the Met men say the miserable weather, more like winter than spring, could drag on until June.
It is a stark contrast to this time last year when crowds flocked to parks and beaches as the mercury soared to 77F (25C) and farmers with parched fields were praying for rain.
Yesterday’s forecast was very different – weeks of snow, harsh frosts and heavy rain. Temperatures could hit the lowest ever recorded for May with freezing gusts from the North Pole making it feel like a chilly -9C.
It is likely to be colder than the Arctic with Honningsvag, Norway, the most northerly village in Europe, falling to just 0C overnight.
The last time it was this cold here was on May 4, 1941, when the temperature fell to -8.9C in Braemar, Scotland.
Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, said: “It is difficult to believe we are a few weeks away from midsummer. It is going to feel more akin to the end of November.
“We are looking at a bitterly cold weekend and Bank Holiday with temperatures woefully shy of where they should be for the time of year.
“Bracing Arctic winds are going to flood in from the North and this is going to continue throughout May.”
He said temperatures would plunge today, staying well below normal for the rest of the weekend.
“We are expecting frosts, mainly in the North, although it is going to feel cold everywhere. With the wind chill it is going to feel very cold indeed.” Temperatures in the South will touch freezing at night and struggle to get into double figures during the day.
The grim forecast comes exactly a year after Britain basked in glorious sunshine. The Met Office recorded highs of 77F in London and Norfolk and Britons were looking forward to weeks of warm, dry weather as the Daily Express reported the country was set to sizzle for a month.
In contrast, this May Bank Holiday will be cloudy, cold and miserable.
Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said parts of Scotland could see snow settling on higher ground.
“Temperatures will be quite a bit below average for the time of year. We are going to wake up to frosty mornings on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and the days are going to feel very chilly.”
He added the outlook for the next 30 days was below-average temperatures and persistent rain. “Things will start to return to normal by the beginning of June.” Piers Corbyn, of WeatherAction, said Britain was in the grip of what could turn out to be the coldest May for 100 years.