“Ne’er cast a clout till May be out” - the old adage about keeping wrapped up warm was certainly true this week with snow falling on parts of the UK and temperatures dipping to around freezing.
But while snow seems unexpected with May beckoning, wintry showers at this time of year are not actually that unusual.
Met Office records from 1981 to 2010 show that on average the UK has 2.3 days of snow in April, more than the 1.7 days for an average November.
In 1981 there was significant snowfall from April 24 to 28, with more than 30cm, or 1ft, recorded over the high ground of the Pennines, 29cm (11.4in) in Sheffield and 26cm (10.2in) in Buxton, Derbyshire.
The following day 25cm (9.8in) was recorded as far south as Okehampton in Devon, 20cm (7.9in) at Blaisdon in Gloucestershire and 14cm (5.5in) at Corsham, Wiltshire, with blizzard conditions causing disruption to power supplies and travel.
In 1986 snow fell somewhere in the UK every day from April 9 to 23, barring April 19, and in 1989 there were late-April snow showers across parts of southern England. Even last year there was snow at the end of April in Aberdeenshire.
But snow has been recorded even later in the year.
On June 2 1975 snow forced cricket matches to be abandoned at Buxton and Colchester, Essex, while in 1979 it snowed every day somewhere in the UK between May 1 and 6, including parts of the South and South East.
May 15 1993 saw 30cm, 1ft, of snow at Moor House in County Durham, and snow was even recorded on June 7 in 1985, at Eskdalemuir in Scotland.