UK weather: May snowfall catches people out as temperatures plunge to a chilly 2C

People have been “caught out” by snowfall in some parts of England and Wales today.

Areas in northern England including Manchester, Derbyshire and the Pennines, and parts of northern Wales, saw a brief scattering of snow in the afternoon.

Snow fell as temperatures plummeted to lows of 2C – which is unusual for this time of year.

Cold air moved south across the country and Brits enjoyed a brief May snowfall amid easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Temperatures were dragged down to between 2C and 4C, according to the Met Office.

The Champions League semi-final clash between Manchester City and PSG at the Etihad Stadium this evening was affected by the unusual weather conditions – with ground staff working ahead of the game to clear snow and hailstones from the pitch.

Snow is cleared from the pitch before the Manchester City v Paris St Germain match
Snow is cleared from the pitch before the Manchester City v Paris St Germain match

The mercury could even dip below freezing in southern and central parts of England overnight, with more rain expected around the UK along with a chance of wintry showers in northern Scotland.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge told the PA news agency: “There’s been a little bit of snow around in areas of northern and central England and northern Wales this evening, it’s been mainly wet, sleety downpours.

“Some of it could stick around on the ground for the next few days but in areas such as Manchester it’s rather warm underground so it should fizzle out by midnight.

Snow in Derbyshire
Parts of England, including Derbyshire, saw a brief snowfall in the afternoon

“It’s obviously not the most common occurrence for this time of year but it does happen and it certainly caught some people out.

“Those driving near to Snowdonia and other areas of high ground should certainly keep an eye out and be careful on the roads.”

Mr Partridge said the average temperature for May is around 16C in England.

He added that the snow fell due to a band of showery rain spreading across central England from Liverpool to East Anglia.

Up to 1cm of snow was seen in affected areas, he said.

The football pitch had to be cleared before the match
The football pitch had to be cleared before the match

Temperatures were dragged to between 2C and 4C
Temperatures were dragged to between 2C and 4C

It comes ahead of a cold night for those living in the north of England and parts of Scotland, where the mercury could fall below freezing by early Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Met Office said: “We are likely to see some frosts overnight, quite widespread, so away from towns and cities, even for central and some southern areas there could be some localised frosts with temperatures dipping below freezing.

“If you are in London, then you are looking at three, four or five degrees overnight, but if you are out in rural areas, you may well see those temperatures dip, particularly for central and northern areas.”

UK 5 day weather forecast

This Evening and Tonight

A band of showery rain across central UK slowly moving southwards. Clear spells following from the north, allowing for a frost in places, whilst wintry showers affect northern Scotland. Remaining windy in the north and east.


Sunny spells and showers, some heavy with hail and thunder, especially in the north and east. Snow on hills, also to low levels in the far north at first. Cold.

Outlook for Thursday to Saturday

Sunny spells and showers through Thursday and Friday, overnight frost in places. Rain and strong winds spreading north and east Saturday. Turning less cold for most, warmer in the southeast.

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