April is no stranger to snow. It falls most years in Scotland and northern hills of England and Wales – more so at the start of the month. Winter road gritting services continue until May. On Tuesday we saw sleet, snow – as well as hail and graupel (soft hail) in many locations across the country.

On Wednesday night the temperature dipped to -8C in Cairngorm, Scotland – not out of the ordinary this time of year up there – but the air across the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland was also below freezing by the early hours. The ground/grass temperatures fell to -9C, even in southern counties. Dead plants anyone?

Wintry sleet, hail and snow this widespread, at this stage in April was last reported in 1989 and 1997. It last snowed in London in late April in 1985. The last time we saw air this cold and widespread in the last week of April, was 1985. Like the current situation, we were in a bitterly cold northerly airstream bringing Arctic air. READ MORE