On Friday the temperature fell to -6.3C in one part of Cumbria, while other places shivered in frost. Why has the weather become so cold – and when will it get warmer again?

From James Robinson, news reporter @thejournojames

Saturday 27 April 2024 10:34am, UK

When temperatures reached almost 22C in parts of England earlier this month, people may have thought spring was finally here.

But as May approaches, temperatures have suddenly dropped, forcing some to put on their winter coats and others to turn on the heating.

On Friday, Shap in Cumbria recorded a temperature of -6.3C, the lowest in the country.

So what caused mercury levels to drop so low?

According to Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler, this is due to a high pressure area in the west of Great Britain.

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The weather is expected to become milder, but the further north you go, the colder it gets.

“The high pressure in the west of the UK and Ireland gave hope for a few days of calm weather, although it was forecast to be a 'cloudy high',” she said.

“And that's broadly what we saw, although the positioning of the high brought cold northerly winds – and the eastern counties can vouch for that.”

“The high was also weak enough to allow frontal systems (a collision of cold and warm air) to pass through, so we didn't see completely dry weather either.”

“And the winds were strong enough to cause a significant wind chill along the North Sea coast, which was quite bitter.”

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That has resulted in temperatures dropping a few degrees below the April average, although “not by much,” according to Ms Wheeler.

So when will temperatures rise again?

“May is just a few days away and change is coming,” she adds.

“Low pressure moving from the south over the weekend will bring milder conditions but also some rain and fresher winds.”

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However, Saturday will feel “chilly for late April”, according to the Met Office, with frost possible in the north overnight.

In the south it can rain heavily at times, slowly moving north.

Starting next week, temperatures will be “warmer than recently,” it is said.

A few showers are possible, but it will remain mostly dry with some sunny spells.

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