SPRING was on hold in Dorset this weekend after the county was hit by snow drifts, hailstorms, lashing rain and even a rare moment of sunshine.

An ominous bolt of lightning on Saturday afternoon that set off car alarms and briefly caused electrical problems in the Bournemouth area heralded the beginning of the bad weather followed, as it was, by a sudden and unseasonal hailstorm.

However, a number of roads were also flooded earlier on in the day, with the A352 Wareham Road and the A351 Sandford Road both hit.


Standing water was also reported on several country lanes.


@bournemouthecho Here is a picture I took half way through the hail storm, it was heavy! twitter.com/willowaz/statu…

— Gemma Read (@willowaz) March 17, 2013

A Dorset Police spokesperson reminded drivers to be careful in difficult conditions.

He said: “We would remind motorists to drive cautiously in these conditions.

“If other vehicles are stuck in flood water, do not attempt to drive through.”

Despite driving rain and blustery winds, visitors still made the most of Bournemouth’s golden sands on Sunday.

Emma Whitehand, who was walking along the stretch with newborn son Casper and five-year-old daughter Honor, said the weather had driven away friends.

“My friends are leaving because the weather’s so awful,” she said.

“It’s a horrible old day, but it’s still nice to be out.”

The north and west of the county suffered an unexpected snowfall that caused some roads to grind to a halt.

Drivers were warned to allow extra time for travel between Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton because of snow, while Dorchester residents woke up to a blanket of snow yesterday.

While the bad weather started to clear up in the afternoon, it still felt cold, with gusts of wind reaching 26 miles per hour on the coast.

And although British Summer Time is set to begin in less than two weeks, on March 31, the weather will remain grim for the rest of the week.

A county council spokesperson said yesterday that gritters would be out overnight as the wet roads froze.

The Met Office has predicted misty mornings and overcast afternoons until Friday, with the mercury dropping to lows of 1C.

Thursday will also see gusts of up to 35mph, making the weather feel even colder.

However, tomorrow is predicted to be more pleasant, with temperatures up to around seven degrees.