We have a bank holiday weekend coming up, one of the first public holiday times in a good long while when movement and visits are allowed. The UK weather is having a bit of a strop, a little one. It could be better, it could be worse, the sort of weather that keeps you on your toes. You might be lucky and have a fair, sheltered kind of a day with sunshine and miss all the showers or come a cropper in the cold wind with several downpours. Most of April 2021 has seen weeks of dry, sunny weather although it has been cool out of the sunshine and chilly by night. The frostiest April on record for the UK. The high pressure which brought the steady spell has now faded and this week has seen a change to mixed, unsettled weather.
There is cooler air coming down from the north, Arctic air which if you are on the east coast with the wind off the chilly North Sea, means you will still need your winter coat. Air temperatures will be subdued through the weekend, 9 to 13C typically. By night, there is still the risk of frost, where skies are clear and in the evenings it will be nippy. No sultry early May heat here for 2021.
At the coast
If you were thinking about a whole day at the beach then do pack a thermos, windbreak and warm clothes. It’s not likely to be mobbed as this is not a bank holiday with wall-to-wall sunshine nor temperatures into the 20s Celsius. But still nice to get outside, children busy digging in the sand making a massive hole for hours and fresh air. If you are tempted to have a paddle, the sea surface temperatures are 8 to 10C at this time of year, the water is still cold.
Saturday brings a scattering of showers mainly inland but some coming in off the North Sea where there will be the cool breeze. That breeze will make it feel colder for NE England, Yorkshire coast and around The Wash into north Norfolk. Whitby at 9C on Saturday so chilly in the wind but feeling okay in any sheltered sunshine. Sunday should be dry but cold at only 6C.
Brighton will only reach 10C with sunny spells and light winds. There will be more of a breeze by Sunday afternoon although most of the showers should be slightly inland so fair along the south coast just not that warm. The sun is still strong at this time of year so its worth putting on your sunscreen even though the air is cool.
For SW Wales, on the beach, walking along the Gower coast path or heading to the Pembrokeshire coast National Park. Western Britain will have lighter winds and be more sheltered at the weekend. Temperatures could reach 11 or 12C with a lot of fair, bright weather and just a few showers as the wind swings round to the west on Sunday afternoon.
Blackpool should be fine and bright with temperatures up to 11C and light winds. It’s cool but at least it won’t be raining all day Saturday. Sunday looks more cloudy with a breeze off the sea. Monday could see wind and rain heading in but there is a lot of uncertainty about the progress of a new system from the Atlantic.
The RNLI and coastguard have issued plenty of safety advice, to think about the tide times, not to cross bays or mudflats or use inflatables with larger than usual tides this week. Tree pollen is still moderate at this time of year inland so being on the coast will offer some relief. UV levels are higher now, slap on the sunscreen even if the air is cold. The fire risk remains high in many areas, with many areas banning fires away from the beach. No fires or BBQs on the ground, care with cigarettes and glass bottles.
Around the UK the SSTs can rise to mid-teens in later summer. If you are having a proper swim, you’ll probably already be aware of the low temperatures and for paddleboarders there will be some very light winds this weekend, although with an onshore NE flow for the east coast. Nothing eye-catching for surfers.
Bank Holiday Monday still looks unsettled but could be slightly warmer in any sunshine for the south but NE Britain looks to stay chilly.