storm clouds nottingham england
Unsettled weather caused havoc to cricket's County Championship programme yesterday. Storm clouds had gathered during the LV County Championship match between Nottinghamshire and Somerset at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England
Britain was been battered by hail, thunder, lightning, heavy rain, high winds and even sleet yesterday in what has been an unusually cold and wet May.

The Met Office reported that the UK has already suffered more than it's average full month rainfall inside the first 17 days of the month.

Children from local schools in Scarborough had their cricket tournament cut short after a massive hail storm hit Wykeham, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Giant hail stones rained down on the match, covering the field in ice as pupils ran for cover.

And they weren't the only ones to have their game affected as the unsettled weather caused havoc to cricket's County Championship programme.

Among the games interrupted was Leicestershire's match against Lancashire at Grace Road, Leicester.

Spectator Phil Long said: 'There were definitely one or two snowflakes amongst the rain, sleet, hail and heaven knows what else.'

Flights were also affected at airports including Heathrow where strong winds and thunderstorms cancelled more than 50 flights.

In some parts of the country, the temperature fell as low as minus 1 degrees Celsius - making it colder than Reykjavik, Iceland which was a comparatively balmy 4 degrees.

But the forecast for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend isn't all doom and gloom with temperatures nudging towards 21 70F on Saturday.

Last night, passengers were still being warned to check with their airlines before travelling as flights could still be delayed.

A spokesman for Heathrow said yesterday: 'We are experiencing some delays and cancellations today due to strong high-altitude wind and thunderstorms. Passengers are advised to check with their airline before travelling to the airport. We are sorry for the disruption to those affected.'

The airport had 55 cancellations throughout the day, out of a total of around 1,290 scheduled flights.

Claire Austin, senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said there had been gusts of around 30mph in the Heathrow area.

'Heavy showers and thunderstorms can cause the winds to be squally, and big gusts are associated with them,' she said.

'Further to the south west, winds were gusting at 40mph, especially in coastal areas.'

A spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport said last night: 'It would be wise for people to check with their airline before travelling to the airport. We are having some delays inbound and outbound because of the weather conditions but no cancellations yet.'

Parts of central and north London - including Bloomsbury and Shoreditch - were battered by hail storms, and there was also reports of thunder and lightning around the capital.
hail north yorkshire
Huge hail stones fell on a school in North Yorkshire on Tuesday as storms battered the country in an unusually cold and wet month of May
In south London, shoppers in Clapham ran for cover as heavy rain lashed down catching many by surprise.

Met Office forecaster Dan Williams said: 'There was sleet on high ground in the early hours.

'There have been some heavy showers around, with strong gusts and squally winds. There have also been reports of hail as well as thunder and lightning.'

However, he added: 'It's not looking too bad for the Bank Holiday weekend.

'It will be settled weather over much of the country on Saturday.

'Things won't be looking too bad temperature-wise, and we could even see highs of 20C or 21C.
hailstorm yorkshire
Children had to run for cover of the pavilion after thunder and lightning hit the area followed by the most amazing hail storm
'A front will be moving across the country on Sunday bringing some showers at some point, starting in the North West in the early hours and heading south where there could be showers in the afternoon or early evening.

'It should be fairly settled in the southern half of the country on Monday.'

Early Met Office figures up to May 17 revealed that the UK has had 74.1mm of rain - just over the full-month May average of 70mm.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all had more than their full month average, while England is just under. Much of this rain fell in the first 10 days of the month.

Mr Williams said it was 'far too early' to say where the month's rainfall will end up, but at this stage it looks unlikely that we'll see any records.

It has also been colder than average so far this month with a UK mean temperature of 9.2C, which is 1.2C below the full-month average.

Mr Williams said that as May is a transition month to warmer weather, you'd normally expect the first half of the month to be slightly below the full-month average - but even so, it has been cooler than normal.

However, sunshine has been very close to average so far this month.

double rainbow dartmouth
On the South West coast, a glorious double rainbow links the opposite sides of the river Dart, Dartmouth and Kingswear in Devon siganlled a respite to the rain yesterday