Balm after the storms! We’re drenched in spring sunshine with temperatures higher than in the Mediterranean… but it’s bracing in the shade
- Blast of unseasonal sunshine saw parts of UK warmer than some tourist hotspots
- Mercury hit 17.5C yesterday, seven degrees above average March temperature
- Balmy conditions sparked a rush outdoors with parks and beaches far busier
- Elsewhere, both Scotland and Wales recorded their hottest days of the year
Just weeks ago we battened down the hatches and cursed our unpredictable weather as storms Eunice and Franklin gave Britain a battering.
But yesterday we had reason to celebrate our fickle climate, as a blast of unseasonal sunshine bathed the country with temperatures higher than Mediterranean hotspots.
The mercury hit an average of 17.5C (63.5F) – a full seven degrees above what can normally be expected in March – although the wind had a harsh bite in the shade.
Meanwhile, Scotland saw its hottest day of the year at 20C (68F) in the village of Kinlochewe, in the north-west Highlands, and Wales recorded a high of 18C (64.4F) in Valley, on the coast of Anglesey.
The balmy conditions sparked a rush outdoors, with parks, river banks and beaches far busier than they had any right to expect.
Early-morning swimmers took a dip in the North Sea on Long Sands Beach in Tynemouth, while others went punting on the River Cam in Cambridge.
And families even sunbathed among daffodils in Greenwich, South-East London.
Becky Farran, 28, from Blackpool jumps for joy on Blackpool beach on Saturday, March 19, 2022
The balmy conditions sparked a rush outdoors, with parks, river banks and beaches far busier than they had any right to expect. Pictured: Harlow Hadlington, four, plays among the daffodils in Cradley Heath, West Midlands
While the temperature will drop again today, the first day of spring, it is expected to bounce back again later in the week.
The rain is set to stay away due to the jet stream tracking north, letting high pressure dominate. Highs of at least 18C are predicted for some parts of the country.
Met Office expert Alex Deakin said: ‘The North West has got the most potential to see temperatures climb. It is going to be quite noticeably higher than what we would expect at this time of year.
‘The settled and dry conditions are due to high pressure near to the UK.
‘As this moves off we see a shift in the wind which, combined with local topographical features and weather effects, is what leads to increased temperatures.’
But the sunshine is set to spark a huge release of early pollen, which could see millions of people rushing to stock up on hay fever pills and tissues.
Athens in Greece will see just 9C (48.2F) today, while Turin in Italy can expect to reach only 14C (57.2).
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