Polar plunge for Britain with bone-rattling -5C temperatures this Bank Holiday
The May Bank Holiday weekend could be the coldest on record with temperatures plunging to an icy -5C.
Widespread frost is expected overnight and there could be snow on high ground, forecasters have warned.
The mercury is expected to drop to as low as -5C (23F) in some parts of the United Kingdom.
The chilly weather could spur a 'motoring mayday', with research from the RAC revealing that this weekend will be the busiest on the roads in three years.
The lowest temperature ever recorded on the early May bank holiday was -6.4C (20.5F) in Grantown-on-Spey in Scotland in 1981, and the same
temperature was recorded on the same weekend in Kinbrace in Scotland in 1988.
Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: "I don't think we'll get lower than that, but I wouldn't completely rule it out, so we'll keep an eye on that one."
His colleague Mark Wilson warned: “Cold air of Arctic and polar origin will arrive from Friday and through the Bank Holiday
In 2018, the mercury hit 28.7C (83.6F) in Northolt, west London, making it the hottest early May bank holiday Monday and weekend since
Mr Keates said a small amount of snow is expected, adding: "In the grand scheme of things, it's probably nothing to get too excited about
in terms of the amounts.
"But nonetheless, it's the first week of May, and in contrast to the recent pretty warm weather we've had, particularly over Easter, it will be a bit of a shock to the system."
Mr Keates said snow is expected mainly in the mountains of Scotland and maybe higher ground in northern England.
He said lower levels in northern Scotland may also see snow.
Mr Keates said the snow is expected from Thursday night and could last through to Sunday in the far north of Scotland.
He said any snow will struggle to settle, with a covering being a possibility in the Grampians and north Highlands, and potentially a slight covering in parts of the Pennines and Snowdonia.
"Widespread disruptive snow is not really expected, but there could be some ice around as well overnight, particularly where we've seen showers.
"It will feel a bit like winter to be honest, for some of us, over the next couple of days," he said.
The average maximum temperature for this time of year in northern Scotland is around 11C (51.8F), in southern England it is around 16C
(60.8F), and on the Yorkshire coast it is around 12C (53.6F) or 13C (55.4F).
But on Saturday there will be highs of around 5C (41F) or 6C (42.8F) in Shetland, while the eastern coast of England will see highs of
between 7C (44.6F) and 9C (48.2F).
"It probably won't be the best beach weather," Mr Keates said, adding that it will feel not much higher than freezing for people in the wind
and the rain.
The forecaster said people can expect widespread sharp frosts at night, with the possibility of minus 5C (23F) in Northern Ireland, Wales and south west England into Sunday morning.
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