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Easter traffic to peak ahead of ‘unsettled’ weekend

A “mixed bag” of weather conditions is predicted over the weekend, including rain and some snow.

Maundy Thursday is likely to see the highest number of vehicles on the road over Easter as commuters and families head home for the long weekend.

The RAC said drivers will complete nearly 19 million separate leisure journeys by car over Easter – the first big getaway weekend of the year.

But not everyone will be able to enjoy spring sunshine over the break, with a “mixed bag” of weather conditions predicted, the Met Office said.

A study of drivers’ plans conducted by the RAC indicates that the largest number of trips will take place on Good Friday with 4.45 million individual journeys being taken, closely followed by Maundy Thursday and Saturday which are each expected to see 3.18 million individual trips.

It is Thursday that is likely to see the largest overall number of vehicles on the road, as cars carrying families and friends vie for space with commuter traffic.

Motorists are expected to experience unsettled, changeable conditions as they make their journeys home, the Met Office said.

Thursday will see a three-way split, with showery rain pushing in from south-west England, rain across the far north east of Scotland falling as snow over the hills, and a large amount of fine weather in between.

The rain will spread into Friday, with temperatures in the north between 5C and 7C (41F-44.6F) and the south a little warmer at 8 or 9 C (46.4F-48.2F)

Saturday will turn drier, brighter and colder with a brisk north easterly wind, paving the way for a “widespread frost” on Easter Sunday for much of the country and the potential of lows of -5 in parts of Scotland.

For most of the country the day will be cloudy, punctuated by some sunshine and showers, before more rain moves in from the south on Monday morning bringing the potential of further snow to the northern hills.

The forecast for Monday remains uncertain, but it is the day which will most likely see disruptive snow.

Met Office chief meteorologist Andy Page said “The Easter period will bring a variety of Spring weather from sunshine and showers, to more prolonged cloudy and wet conditions, along with some snow in the north: chiefly over the hills.

“So, there will be opportunities to get outside and enjoy the weekend, and you can use the rainfall radar on the Met Office app to keep track of where the rain is and when is best to get outdoors.”

Planned upgrades to some parts of the national rail network will likely see an increase in road traffic through the weekend, with buses carrying rail passengers in some parts of the north west, south west and east of England.

Easter traffic hot spots are set to include the M25 between Gatwick Airport and the M1, the M3 south west of London, the A303 Stonehenge, the M55 between Preston and Blackpool, and the M53 between Liverpool and Chester, according to the RAC.

Highways England said it is helping people travelling to seaside locations, ports and airports by removing some 300 miles of roadworks.

The organisation said this means around 99% of motorways and major A-roads will be roadworks-free in time for Easter.

Highways England’s customer service director, Melanie Clarke, said: “Safety is our top imperative and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns are avoidable and these can easily be avoided with simple vehicle checks.

“Easter is always a busy period on the road network and we’d urge all motorists to make sure they do their bit to check their vehicle is roadworthy before setting off over this period.”

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