Bank holiday travel trouble as more than 20 million cars hit the road with thunderstorms possible

24 May 2024, 17:40 | Updated: 24 May 2024, 21:51

Travel trouble is expected this bank holiday with more than 20 million leisure trips by car due to be made between Friday and Monday, according to the RAC.

The worst travel day was likely to be Friday, as the long weekend coincides with the half-term break for many schools.

Transport analytics company Inrix warned journeys on the M25 clockwise between Junction 7 for the M23 and Junction 21 for the M1 were expected to be delayed by more than 90 minutes in the late afternoon on Friday.

Predicted delays of an hour were also likely on a 45-mile southbound stretch of the M5 - a popular holiday route - from Junction 16 north of Bristol to Junction 25 for Taunton, Somerset.

Bank holiday getaway journeys on a major train route are being disrupted due to an attempted theft of signalling cables.

National Rail said trains must run at reduced speeds between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton until damaged cables are repaired.

The issues are affecting passengers travelling with Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, London Northwestern Railway, Transport for Wales and West Midlands Railway.

Work projects

Many train services will be affected this weekend as Network Rail carries out an engineering project with services on the West Coast Main Line reduced due to work around Crewe and Carlisle.

Trains will also be affected by track renewals between Carstairs and Lanark in Scotland, while there will be significant changes to services on the Great Eastern Main Line because of work building a new station at Beaulieu Park to the east of Chelmsford.

Aviation analytics company Cirium said Friday was the busiest day of the year for UK airports since October 2019, with more than 3,150 departing flights.

Around 8,486 flights are scheduled to take to the skies between Saturday and Monday.

The most popular international destinations for UK departures are Dublin, Amsterdam, Palma, Alicante and Malaga.

Longer spells of rain

Weather-wise, the Met Office is forecasting a "typical springtime mix of weather" with sunshine, showers and some longer spells of rain over the bank holiday period.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Dan Harris said: "We are keeping the weather warning situation under review, so please keep up to date with the latest warnings and forecasts from the Met Office if you have plans this bank holiday weekend."

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Sky News weather producer Joanna Robinson said: "Temperatures could be as low as 3C or 4C in some rural spots in the south first thing. Saturday is looking like the best day of the weekend.

"There'll be more in the way of sunshine than recently, but Ireland and eastern England will see cloud and rain moving in. South Wales and southwest England will turn wet later.

"Rain will turn increasingly patchy on Sunday as it moves northwards, with heavy showers developing from the south.

"They'll bring the risk of hail and thunder, with localised flooding possible.

"Bank holiday Monday will bring further showers, some thundery, but western parts will turn drier later on.

"It's worth keeping an eye on the forecast, as short-notice thunderstorm warnings may be issued on Sunday and Monday.

"Daytime temperatures will be around average, but it should feel warm in any sunshine."