Two weeks after basking in temperatures that put the Mediterranean in the shade, winter paid an unwelcome visit to Shropshire.
That meant a select few in the county awoke to the sight of snow in mid-May – and the attention of the nation.
Retired Polly Smith, who lives up in the hills outside Newcastle-on-Clun, posted pictures of her snow-covered garden online after waking up to scenes yesterday morning resembling a winter wonderland.
Her pictures featured in later editions of the Shropshire Star and were re-Tweeted thousands of times around the world. She even found herself being filmed for one of the main features on the national Six O’Clock News.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I opened the curtains. I have lived here with my husband Robin for 28 years now and we have never seen snow in May.
“So when I woke up, I was stunned to see the ground covered and it still coming down quite heavily. We are opening our garden for the National Garden Scheme on June 9, so I hope it has cleared by then.”
The weather had another quirk to it. While two inches of snow fell on some parts of Newcastle-on-Clun, others on slightly lower ground didn’t see a single flake.
Parish councillor Sandra Davies, 63, also lives up in the hills and thought there was half a chance they would get snow after hearing the forecast.
She said: “I saw the band we were in I said there was possibility we would get snow here. It’s always a bit of a surprise to open your curtains and see snow-covered hills in the middle of May.
“I have lived here for 46 years and I can remember snow in May 30-odd years ago. In fact I remember going to the West Mid Show one year with snow on the ground.”
Mike Steedman, owner of the Anchor Inn, near Newcastle-on-Clun said the snow had been a good two inches at its peak.
He added: “We’re about 1,300ft up in the hills – so we had completely different weather to that in Newcastle-on-Clun.”
Semi-retired farmer John Yeoward, who owns Newcastle Court Farm just outside the village, said there had been a little snow but not enough to make any impact.
“My son was up at about 6am, as was my neighbour, and they both said that it was coming down quite heavy in the village at the time,” he said.
“I am in my 80s now and I have lived here for 55 years.
“In the olden days it was not uncommon to have snow on the ground at this time of year – but that was mainly because we didn’t have the equipment we have nowadays to shift it as quickly. But I certainly can’t remember many times where we had actual snowfall in May.”
Elsewhere across the county, more than two inches of rain fell on Oswestry in just six hours, while Telford soaked up more than an inch of torrential rain while a flood alert was issued for the entire River Severn yesterday as forecasters warned of more rain to come.
In Shrewsbury, the B5067 Berwick Road was flooded near the turning for Gravel Hill Lane.
Motorists were also held up on the A5 at West Felton after surface water flooded part of the road between the B5009 junction and Mile End Roundabout.
The Met Office forecast for the next few days in Shropshire is for more showers towards the weekend, and slightly warmer.