The early May bank holiday will see snow and frost, with temperatures plunging close to the coldest on record – just a year on from the hottest ever recorded.
The mercury is expected to drop to as low as minus 5C (23F) in some parts, with overnight frosts, while snow is expected in some areas of high ground.
The lowest temperature ever recorded on the early May bank holiday was minus 6.4C (20.5F) in Grantown-on-Spey in Scotland in 1981, and the same temperature was recorded on the same weekend in Kinbrace in Scotland in 1988.
Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: “I don’t think we’ll get lower than that, but I wouldn’t completely rule it out, so we’ll keep an eye on that one.”
In 2018, the mercury hit 28.7C (83.6F) in Northolt, west London, making it the hottest early May bank holiday Monday and weekend since records began.
Mr Keates said a small amount of snow is expected, adding: “In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably nothing to get too excited about in terms of the amounts.
“But nonetheless, it’s the first week of May, and in contrast to the recent pretty warm weather we’ve had, particularly over Easter, it will be a bit of a shock to the system.”
Mr Keates said snow is expected mainly in the mountains of Scotland and maybe higher ground in northern England.
He said lower levels in northern Scotland may also see snow.
Mr Keates said the snow is expected from Thursday night and could last through to Sunday in the far north of Scotland.
He said any snow will struggle to settle, with a covering being a possibility in the Grampians and north Highlands, and potentially a slight covering in parts of the Pennines and Snowdonia.
“Widespread disruptive snow is not really expected, but there could be some ice around as well overnight, particularly where we’ve seen showers.
“It will feel a bit like winter to be honest, for some of us, over the next couple of days,” he said.
The average maximum temperature for this time of year in northern Scotland is around 11C (51.8F), in southern England it is around 16C (60.8F), and on the Yorkshire coast it is around 12C (53.6F) or 13C (55.4F).
But on Saturday there will be highs of around 5C (41F) or 6C (42.8F) in Shetland, while the eastern coast of England will see highs of between 7C (44.6F) and 9C (48.2F).
“It probably won’t be the best beach weather,” Mr Keates said, adding that it will feel not much higher than freezing for people in the wind and the rain.
The forecaster said people can expect widespread sharp frosts at night, with the possibility of minus 5C (23F) in Northern Ireland, Wales and south west England into Sunday morning.