Travel chaos and rain… it must be a bank holiday!

Travel chaos and rain… it must be a bank holiday! Wet and windy weather will sweep Britain this weekend as 15million motorists prepare for gridlock and train firm urges passengers not to travel

  • Motorists said to be planning up to 15million trips over the bank holiday weekend causing chaos on the roads 
  • But trips threatened to be a washout with wet and windy weather sweeping across the country into next week
  • Temperatures only expected to reach a high of 14C today and overnight they will drop down to -2C
  • It is the first bank holiday weekend since restrictions were lifted and the third week where self-contained staycations have been allowed 

If the sunny weather has tempted you to make plans to spend this bank holiday weekend in a pub garden or on an outdoor trip, then you may want to think again.

This year’s early May bank holiday threatens to be a washout, with wet and windy weather set to sweep the country and families planning a get-away being told to expect road chaos.

Strong winds and rain are expected to hit the UK; temperatures will reach a high of 14C today but overnight they will drop to -2C.

Forecasters said those hoping for another weekend in the sun will be disappointed, as it will be a ‘wet and windy May Day for most’.

Millions are set to take advantage of the first bank holiday of the year with eased lockdown rules. It will also be the first weekend when travel to Wales and Scotland for leisure can go ahead, with many staycations expected. 

The RAC said motorists were planning nearly 15million trips between yesterday and Monday, potentially bringing gridlock to roads. This would be the highest number of car trips for the early May bank holiday since 2016. 

This year’s early May bank holiday threatens to be a washout with strong winds and rain are expected to hit the UK; temperatures will reach a high of 14C today but overnight they will drop to -2C. Pictured: Pub goers in Leeds get out their brollies as they enjoy drinking al fresco

Forecasters said those hoping for another weekend in the sun will be disappointed, as it will be a ‘wet and windy May Day for most’

While the weekend will kick off with some clearer skies and sunny spells, clouds will move in for much of the country on Saturday. Pictured: Friday evening drinkers and diners pack out tables in Soho, London

The RAC said motorists were planning nearly 15million trips between yesterday and Monday, potentially bringing gridlock to roads. This would be the highest number of car trips for the early May bank holiday since 2016. Pictured: Traffic builds up on the M4 near Datchet in Berkshire

The Met Office said yesterday: ‘The first day of May will include sunny spells Sun with rays occasional showers Sun behind cloud with rain and very little wind. Temperatures will be a little below average for the time of year’

But Britons have been warned to dig out their raincoats as showers will give gardens some much-needed rainfall – drowning any hopes of socialising outdoors.

While the weekend will kick off with some clearer skies and sunny spells, clouds will move in for much of the country on Saturday.

The wet and windy weather will linger for most of the weekend, with some areas blasted by ‘heavy and persistent’ showers, forecasters have warned.

On Sunday, many Britons will see a sunny start but rain will develop into the afternoon. Temperatures will settle at around 12C on average on Sunday during the day, with some areas experiencing a chill below 0C.

Most of England will see a miserable Monday capping off the Bank Holiday weekend, with the north of the country only reaching highs of 10C and the south only 12C.

While the wet weather will mark a change from the dry days seen in April – and fresh showers will flush gardens with much needed rainfall – it will put a stop to plans to relax in the outdoors.

Matthew Williams from DTN/Meteogroup said: ‘People should be digging their coats out again. It will be still quite chilly for May – not the hot and sunny Bank Holiday we would hope for.

While the wet weather will mark a change from the dry days seen in April – and fresh showers will flush gardens with much needed rainfall – it will put a stop to plans to relax in the outdoors. Pictured: Two women caught in heavy rain yesterday morning at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool

The wet and windy weather will linger for most of the weekend, with some areas blasted by ‘heavy and persistent’ showers, forecasters have warned. Pictured: Dark threatening shower clouds build above the beach at Boscombe near Bournemouth

Motorists are being urged to plan ahead for possible delays over the May bank holiday as RAC research suggests nearly 15m separate leisure trips will be made by car between Friday and Monday, the highest number since 2016. Pictured: A motorhome heads along the M25 motorway in Kent

The busiest roads are expected to be holiday routes including the M5 from the Midlands and Bristol towards Devon and Cornwall, and the M6 to Cumbria

The RAC’s Rod Dennis said: ‘After what was one of the quietest Easters on the roads in years, our figures suggest the easing of Covid restrictions has made a dramatic difference with millions more drivers planning to hit the roads’ Pictured: Traffic monitors show red for large swathes of roads around London 

‘The rain also follows one of the driest Aprils ever – maybe some people will be quite happy to see the rain.’

An RAC survey asking more than 1,000 drivers about their bank holiday plans suggests today will be the busiest with around 2.63million journeys planned.

A further 1.64million are due tomorrow and nearly 2million on Monday. And 6.2million trips are to be made by those unsure of when to travel. Around 2.3million car trips were expected to be made yesterday.

The busiest roads are expected to be holiday routes including the M5 from the Midlands and Bristol towards Devon and Cornwall, and the M6 to Cumbria.

The RAC’s Rod Dennis said: ‘After what was one of the quietest Easters on the roads in years, our figures suggest the easing of Covid restrictions has made a dramatic difference with millions more drivers planning to hit the roads.

‘It remains to be seen what effect the weather will have as meeting up in soggy parks and gardens may not prove quite so appealing. And if it’s too cold for a trip to the beach, then there could be a big uplift in visits to shops, cafes and restaurants with covered outdoor areas.’ 

Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads policy, said: ‘The May Day weekend will be the first test of post-lockdown leisure travel with Scotland and Wales not only unlocking at a faster speed than England, but allowing travel between other parts of the UK.’ 

Pub goers were yesterday seen filling up beer gardens and alfreso spots in London as they enjoy a third weekend of eased restrictions on outdoor dining and drinking. Pictured: Revellers in Soho

Researchers from healthtech firm ZOE and King’s College London estimated that the daily number of people getting symptoms was down 13 per cent from 870 to 757 in the fifth weekly fall in a row

Covid marshals were on hand as roads were converted into outdoor spaces for pubs and restaurants to use for customers

A crowd of ravers are pictured in Bramley-Moore Dock, Liverpool, this evening during a nightclub rave test event. Three thousand people are expected at the event today which will be a key test of whether live events halted during the pandemic can reopen at full capacity

While hundreds were enjoying blue skies today, the bank holiday weekend will see chilly 8-14C highs, 3C below average, which will feel like 6-12C in windchill. Not the ideal temperatures for drinks in the local beer garden

Meanwhile Network Rail plans to carry out a series of big engineering projects, with one rail firm warning train users not to travel during the three-day weekend.

Until Monday the West Coast main line to and from London Euston is closed. An Avanti West Coast spokesman said: ‘We strongly advise you to travel either side of the bank holiday weekend.’

Last week on Tuesday main line rail use reached 44 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, the highest for months. It stayed at 40 per cent or above for six days in a row. Bus use across the country also hit 60 per cent while Tube journeys in London hit 45 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Millions of Britons are set to take advantage of the first Bank Holiday this year for which lockdown restrictions will be eased.

Many intend to embark on shopping and day trips or mini breaks following the re-opening of non-essential shops, zoos, theme parks and stays in self-contained accommodation.

It will also be the first weekend when cross-border travel into Wales and Scotland for leisure trips can go ahead, with many staycationers expected to take advantage. 

Authorities in Snowdonia national park have asked visitors to ‘be kind’ if they choose to visit.

‘Do not park on roadsides or across entrances, it is dangerous and can cause problems for our farmers, communities and emergency services,’ they said in a statement.

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