Parts of UK enjoy warmest March day for five years

Kevin Rawlinson
People enjoy the sunshine on the beach in Hastings, East Sussex. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Parts of the UK saw the warmest March day in five years on Thursday as temperatures approached 22C (71.6F). But, while some were bathed in sunshine, rain and thunder hit other areas of the country.

Warm air from the European mainland enhanced the temperatures in the south-east of England, with the warmest spots all lying around London. Gravesend, in Kent, had the highest temperature – 21.8C, which made Thursday the hottest day of 2017 so far.

Temperatures less than a degree cooler were also recorded in parts of the capital. But these highs are not close to beating the record for the warmest ever March day, which was set in 1968 at 25.6C in Cambridgeshire.

Parts of north Wales and northern England were not so lucky as heavy showers fell. And there was thunder in Derry, Northern Ireland.

“We’ve got some warm air coming in from the continent, which is clipping the south-east corner of the UK, so we’re seeing some temperatures certainly in the high teens away from that corner, but it’s only London and parts of East Anglia reaching these higher temperatures over 20C,” said Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey.

Friday is forecast to be cooler, with temperatures dropping to high to mid teens, which is still above average for most of the country.

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