UK weather: Britain enjoys heatwave on hottest March day for five years

Nicola Harley
American tourist Lauren, on holiday from Pennsylvania, enjoys the unseasonably warm weather in Green Park, central London - Copyright ©Heathcliff O'Malley , All Rights Reserved, not to be published in any format without p

Britain had record-breaking hot weather on Thursday, making it the hottest March day for five years.

The weather was warmer than Portugal, Spain and the south of France in some parts.

The South of England and London reached temperatures of 21.8 degrees, which would represent the warmest March day the country has experienced in five years.

The highest mark for March was set in 1968, when 25.6C (78F) was recorded in Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

Temperatures so far this month have peaked at 19.9C (67.8F), measured at Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands last Sunday, March 26.

That is already higher than the maximum temperature reported by the Met Office for March 2016 (18.7C/65.7F) and March 2015 (17.4C/63.3F).

Weather for Thursday 30 March

The whole country was set to have higher than average temperatures for the time of year today.

In the north temperatures were to reach up to 18C compared to a typical day of 9C.

Thursday's temperature was almost double the average April day, which on average are only around 11C.

Even overnight temperatures were in double figures on Wednesday night.

London woke up to a glorious sunrise on what is set to be a mini heatwave Credit: REUTERS/Russell Boyce

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said: "There is a good chance temperatures will reach 22C in the South East of England, especially in Kent, Sussex and Essex.

"These will be the hottest places in the UK. It is due to really warm air being dragged up from Iberia.

"It will be dry and sunny but in the rest of the country there will be cloudy and it could be a bit breezy. Although it will still be warm and better than average for the time of year.

"In the North there will be highs of between 14C to 18C.

"The temperatures are a good five to six degrees higher than average this year."

A woman walks past a carpet of 'Glory of the Snow' at Kew Gardens in west London Credit: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

Last year at the same time temperatures were 12C in the South and the north had single figures.

"It is definitely quite a bit milder, " Mr Burkill added.

"Last time we reached 20.9 was in March 2014. The last time we saw figures this high at this time of year was in 2012 when they reached 23.6C.

"There is a good chance it will be the warmest day of the year so far."

Little Venice, London Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Although the warm temperatures are set to continue into the start of April there are fears Easter could still be a wash out.

Mr Burkill added: "The start of April will be settled but it is set to become more unsettled in the middle, around Easter time. It is still too early for us to know precisely at the moment though."

It appeared Thursday's weather was a one day wonder. A spokesperson for the Met Office told the Telegraph that Friday is still set to be warm - but it will rain in some parts of the UK.

She said: "It will depend on where you are. Generally it's going to be dry with some good sunny spells but there will be some showers in Northern Ireland and some parts of Scotland, and later on in the day we will see some showers in the South West as well."

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