A chilly start to May

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  • Photo of a snow-capped Cairngorm on the morning of 1st May 2014. Photo: Courtesy of www.cairngormmountain.org

    Frosty conditions may make a brief comeback over the next couple of nights. Photo: Matthew Vincent/PA Archive/Press Association Images

    Pressure chart showing the chilly air sinking southwards across the UK

    The chill is set to be brief as milder conditions return over the Bank Holiday weekend. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

  • A chilly start to May
    01.05.2014 13:14


    Now that we are in the third and final month of meteorological spring and with summer just around the corner, one might expect talk of frosts and snow to be a thing of the past. However, with fresh snow cover over some of the Scottish mountains, the morning of 1st May could have easily been confused with midwinter!

    Each month from last December to April was milder than the long term average in the UK. In fact, November 2013 was the most recent month to fall short of average (when compared to previous Novembers). It is also quite unusual for such a mild winter to be followed by a mild spring. A more detailed review of the month just gone can be seen in the April review.

    The warmth of recent weeks has been partly the result of southerly airflows, thanks to high pressure over Scandinavia and low pressure in the North Atlantic. This is set to change over the next few days as high pressure situated over the Faroe Islands tracks steadily southwards. Whilst this is likely to bring some dry and fine weather, the air mass itself actually originated in the Arctic, which will lead to a drop in temperatures. So far the chilly air has only reached northern parts of the UK – midday temperatures on 1st May were in single figures across large swathes of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the far north of England! Gardeners should also be warned that under fairly clear and calm conditions, a patchy frost is possible in the north in the early hours of Friday 2nd May, while almost anywhere in the UK could turn frosty in the early hours of Saturday 3rd May.

    Looking further ahead, it should come as a relief to many to hear that from Saturday onwards, daytime temperatures will climb to around average – which is around 15-16°C. With high pressure persisting, it is also expected to be fairly dry and settled for many as the Bank Holiday weekend progresses. However, there are some exceptions, with Atlantic frontal systems bringing thicker cloud and the potential for some patchy rain to northern areas by Sunday.

    By: John Lee