Snow arrives as temperatures drop close to zero

April snow in Duns Market Square
April snow in Duns Market Square

LAST WEEK it was unseasonably warm. This week, the snow has arrived unusually late, with Duns taking the biggest dump, homes in north Northumberland losing power and temperatures dropping to just above freezing. More snow is on the way.

It is expected to clear by Thursday when temperatures are forecast to creep up again, but just a few days after it was warm enough to wear shorts the arrival of Arctic air from the north has plunged Berwickshire and north Northumberland into mid-winter conditions just a few days before Easter.

More snow has been forecast across the Borders and north Northumberland for Wednesday morning. Widespread ice was expected to form on untreated surfaces overnight, causing possible travel disruption.

Northumbria Police is asking road users to take additional care on the region’s roads in the adverse weather conditions.

“Motorists should be alert to the dangers of standing water on the region’s roads, for snow on higher ground and for icy patches over night,” read a statement from police. “Northumbria Police is advising motorists to exercise caution in wintry conditions.”

Almost 10,000 homes across Northumberland, Newcastle and Cumbria suffered power-cuts. Closer to home, the temperature dropped close to zero. It was 0.3 degress Celcius in Greenlaw, but the wind meant it felt like -5. The Duns area was the hardest hit, with snow lying in and around the town. The same was true for Greenlaw, while sleet started to fall in Berwick, Coldstream and Seahouses. Snow was reported to be lying on the roads between Beadnell and Alnwick.

The Farne Islands opened to visitors for the summer on Monday, but the staff were busy battoning down the hatches.

David Steel, head warden for the Farne Islands, said: “What a day. The weather did exactly what it said on the tin – gale force easterly winds with driving rain and the occasional snow showers. The wind gauge surpassed the 70mph mark whilst the wind chill dropped below -10 degrees. Yes, it was that cold. The warm barmy sunny days of last week were long forgotten as we battoned down the hatches, locked down the islands and stayed as warm as we could.”

Even the resident puffins were in shock. Steel added: “It felt and looked like mid-winter. Let’s hope it eases soon and we can get on with life as normal. I’m just glad this is not during the breeding season.”