April sunshine turns to May showers

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Despite starting with sub-zero temperatures and snow on the ground in parts of Scotland, last month was the third sunniest April for a century, figures show.

But, predictably enough on this bank holiday, it hasn't lasted: May is being ushered in by a chill wind and showers. It may come as a surprise to many people that April was so sunny, but figures released yesterday by MeteoGroup show a mid-month warm patch meant it was outdone only by 1987 and 2007 in the last 100 years. England and Wales had an average of 222 hours of sunshine during the month, which is 42 per cent sunnier than the 1971-2000 average.

Scotland enjoyed 164 hours of sunshine, 10 per cent higher than usual, and Northern Ireland had 183 hours, 14 per cent above the average. Swanscombe in Kent recorded the hottest temperature of 22.1C on Wednesday, while the coldest was -7C in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, overnight on the 1st and 2nd of the month. But unsettled weather is anticipated over the bank holiday weekend. A Met Office forecaster said: "As we go into the weekend, it turns significantly colder with quite a strong north-easterly wind. Showers will be the name of the game."