UK experiences hottest winter day ever as 21.2C is recorded in London

unseasonably warm weather in st sames’s park, london
Unseasonably warm weather in St James’s Park, London, on 25 February. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Rex/Shutterstock

Parts of Britain exceed temperatures in Malibu, Athens and Crete

— The UK has experienced its warmest winter day on record, the Met Office has revealed.

Temperatures in Kew Gardens, south-west London, reached 21.2°C (70.2°F), breaking the record for the warmest February day. The Met Office defines winter from the beginning of December to the end of February, so Tuesday’s sunny spell is also a winter record.

The record had already been broken on Monday, when temperatures exceeded 20°C during winter for the very first time. This week’s unseasonably warm weather differs dramatically from the beginning of the month, when sub-zero temperatures were recorded across the country.

The previous winter record had been 19.7°C in Greenwich, south-east London, in 1998.

“The average temperature for this time of year is 9°C in London and 9°C in north Wales, so what we’re seeing is 10 degrees above average,” said Martin Bowles, a Met Office meteorologist.

Bowles said: “We can’t blame climate change directly because we’re talking about weather, not the climate. But it is a sign of climate change. There’s been a gradual increase of temperatures over the last 30 years so the extreme weather has also been increasing.”

Parts of Britain on Tuesday were hotter than Malibu, Athens, Crete and Barcelona.

The warm weather is in stark contrast to this time last year, when the “beast from the east” swept across much of the UK, bringing heavy snow showers and lows of -5°C. The cold conditions caused travel delays and power cuts in what were the lowest temperatures in the week leading up to 1 March since 1986.

Bowles said the warm temperatures were largely because of an area of pressure over the North Sea, which was drawing up warm air from the south.

Last year’s cold weather was because of a similar weather pattern, but the high pressure came from Arctic Russia, before moving over Scandinavia. The conditions seen this week come from the tropical Atlantic and parts of north Africa.

While temperatures are forecast to reach 19°C on Wednesday, the Met Office is expecting to see a change from Thursday onwards, when weather from the Atlantic will bring colder showers.

“We’re having a very warm end to winter, but will see a typical beginning to spring,” Bowles said

Heavy showers are possible at the end of the week, as temperatures will struggle to get above 11°C or 12°C.

by Aamna Mohdin | The Guardian



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