Odds on snow at Easter drop as fast as temperatures
The smart money may not just be at Cheltenham this week, as bookies slashed the odds on snow falling at Easter – and on the famous racing festival itself getting a dose of the white stuff.
Last week, the migrating Bewick swans of Slimbridge turned back to their wintering ground for an extended break – and now sand martins returning from a bit of winter sun in Africa are in line to get a shock as a blast of icy weather sweeps the country.
Memories of the warmth that brought predictions of a pleasant spring last week will be swept aside by temperatures as low as -7C (19.4F) in coming days.
Grahame Madge, of the RSPB, said sand martins – a common sight along the waterways of the South West – are already arriving for the British summer, and will face “very hard conditions”.
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Temperatures will remain below freezing in many areas in the next few days, with the possibility of snow bringing children out in hats and scarves and potential disruption to the roads.
Senior meteorologist Julian Mayes, of Meteogroup, said: “It could even be the coldest weather of the winter in a few places, but this cold snap is only going to last until about Friday.
“But it’s going to be a noticeable one and the overnight temperatures will mean some quite severe and penetrating frosts, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday nights right across the country,” he said.
Forecasters could not comment on the likelihood of a white Easter because it’s too far ahead, but Ladbrokes said it was forced to slash the odds of snow reappearing across Easter weekend.
It is now just even money for snow to fall in any major city, and there’s a 4-1 chance it is the coldest Easter on record, Ladbrokes said.
Jessica Bridge, spokeswoman for the company, said: “The odds of snow falling over Easter are dropping as quick as the temperatures.
“Only a week ago the UK was basking in the sunshine but there’s no chance that this month will be the warmest March on record now.”
The bookmakers said snow could also play havoc with Cheltenham Festival this week, and it is now a 2-1 (from 4-1) shot that any day’s racing is subject to a sprinkling of snow.
But meteorologist Alexi Boothman, also at Meteogroup, said: “Towards the end of the week it’s still really rather cold, but it’s showing some signs on Friday into Saturday and then into Sunday where the winds turn around more towards the south and the west and we get slightly milder air.