Summer may be near but residents of Cornwall and Devon wake up to snow and winds of 65mph

The 'fairly unusual' weather for May left thousands without power and winds of 65mph

Residents in parts of Devon couldn’t believe their eyes when they awoke to find snow had fallen due to “fairly unusual” weather in the usually mild month of May.

Winds of up to 65mph struck south west England overnight as an area of low pressure also brought rain. Western Power Distribution said that thousands were left without power in Cornwall after supplies were disrupted overnight in Penzance.

The snow followed heavy rain on Monday. Fourteen flood alerts are still in place in Devon and Cornwall. Two inches of snow also fell in Shropshire overnight and residents have been warned to prepare for flooding.

Gemma Plumb, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said unsettled conditions could persist into next week with chilly temperatures in some areas.

"At the moment it looks as though on Saturday there is a potential to get some heavy and persistent rain across northern parts of the UK," she said.

"Tomorrow and Friday we are looking at showers and sunshine across the UK with heavy showers at times.

"The temperatures are going to remain slightly below seasonal averages - you will be looking at 11 to 14 C (52 to 57F) and further south there will be temperatures of 15 to 16 C (59 to 61F).

"In the south east it is around average but further north it is slightly below average. Temperatures will pick up at the weekend.

"At the moment it looks as though the unsettled weather will continue through much of next week."

Paul Mott, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: "We've certainly seen some strong winds, gusty winds, overnight, of 50-55mph, over much of the English Channel coast.

"Earlier in the night there were winds of 65mph over the southern coast of Cornwall and Devon."

Mr Mott said these winds were "fairly unusual for May", adding: "We've had a fairly unusual deep low pressure system over several parts of England which has brought these gusty winds and heavy rain."

Inspector Tom Cunningham, from Devon and Cornwall Police, also reported BT lines down.

Forecaster Philip Avery told the BBC: “May snowfall is unusual but not unheard of, even in southern England.

”Snow has even managed to fall into June… but that really is a rarity.

“The last really widespread snowfall in May was 17th May 1955 when much of England and Wales was affected by several hours of snow.

”Coincidently, Devon also saw significant snow on 17th May 1935.“

The odds of snow falling across the Bank Holiday weekend have been slashed. It's now odds-on at 5/6 that any major UK city will see some snow with Ladbrokes giving even shorter odds of 4/6 for London.

The unsettled weather is expected to last until the weekend but the winds are expected to ease during Wednesday.