Belfast Telegraph

Rain, hail, floods, cold... it must be May bank holiday

By Claire Harrison

It was four seasons in one day taken to the max.

The Bank Holiday weekend for Northern Ireland was a bizarre mix of relentless rain, hailstones, thunderstorms, floods, chilly temperatures, snow, flashes of lightning, a few flashes of welcome sunshine and high winds.

The Strangford Ferry faced delays after a blanket of fog decided to join the unpredictable and extremely unseasonable conditions.

Despite the May Day weekend usually being associated with warmer spring weather, 2015 will go down in the records as one of the chilliest endured after temperatures struggled to get above 10C.

After a spectacular sunset on Friday night, many parts of Northern Ireland were being lashed with heavy downpours and high winds within hours.

An amber weather warning issued on Saturday was kept in place by the Met Office until well into yesterday after torrential rain caused localised flooding.

A group of cyclists were among the victims of the weather on Saturday as a stage of a major race had to be called off after it was hit by snow.

Organisers of Stage Two of the AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster said it had to be halted three miles outside Kilkeel as high winds, snow and sleet battered the riders.

Garry Nugent, of BGN Management, made the decision to end the stage near Kilkeel as the conditions worsened and rider safety was threatened.

Mr Nugent said the race got off to a great start as it left Malone Playing Fields in Belfast - but weather conditions worsened and it was considered too much of a risk to the cyclists.

He said: "It's always tough to call off a stage especially as the momentum for this one has been huge.

"No one can predict the weather but it is key in our decision-making and no race is worth a rider's safety.

"There were a few crashes...the last thing anyone wants is for someone to get injured. The riders were all given the option either to cycle at safe speeds into Newry or take lifts in cars."

The good news is that today is expected to be more clement in many parts, despite being colder than average.

Marathon runners are forecast to be blessed with sunshine and no rain in Belfast, although the mercury will hit just 13C.

Belfast Telegraph

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