Temperature set to hit 28C in the south but engineering works threaten to cause more transport chaos in the region
London: Parts of Britain could enjoy the hottest early May bank holiday ever recorded on Monday with temperatures set to reach 28C.
The forecast follows a high of 26.3C at Heathrow airport on Sunday, while the hottest days of the year were also recorded in Scotland where it reached 22.3C in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland where it was 20.8C in Katesbridge in County Down.
The south-east of England, East Anglia and the Midlands will again have the warmest weather on Monday. But the heat also brought the familiar bank holiday transport problems.
Southern Rail, which operates the mainline from London to Brighton, advised people not to travel on Sunday because engineering work meant the line was closed south of Gatwick airport.
A replacement bus service was operating but there were reports of overcrowding as people tried to reach the coast. The closure continues on Monday so the main route from the capital is likely to be severely disrupted again.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers will rightly be frustrated to find they can’t travel on the bank holiday weekend. These works and the weather were no surprise — so why has Southern failed to provide enough rail replacement buses?
“We’ll be working with the operator to find out what went wrong and to ensure that passengers aren’t left high and dry next time they plan a trip to the seaside on a weekend.”
The early May bank holiday was introduced in 1978 and the temperature has never topped the 28C mark.
It was 23.6C on the bank holiday Monday in 1999, while the hottest bank holiday weekend ever was in 1995 when temperatures peaked on the Saturday at 28.6C.
Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said the highs of 28C were not going to be widespread on Monday.
“That’s going to be the exception rather than the rule. I think for most places, if you take the bulk of England and Wales for example, we’re looking at somewhere around the low to mid 20s mark,” he said.
Crowds flocked to beaches and parks all over the country on Sunday with only parts of northern Scotland seeing wet weather. The sunniest place in Britain was Boulmer on the coast of Northumberland, the Met Office said.
The weather is set to become mixed as the month progresses.
Looking at the long range forecast, which is not as accurate as the shorter range forecast, Powell said: “It looks like we should be prepared for some pretty changeable weather throughout the second half of May.
“We’re still going to see some dry days, but there’s still going to be some wet days mixed in as well. So it doesn’t look like it’s going to carry on in a similar kind of vein to high pressure in charge, sunshine, light winds, high temperatures, that we have now.”