Temperature hits 21C on record warmest UK winter day


The UK has experienced its warmest winter day since records began for the second day running.

Records were broken in England and Wales, as temperatures hovered around 21C (69.8F) and Britons continued to enjoy a spell of unseasonably mild weather.

【ギャラリー】Warm UK weather in February 201938

Temperatures hit 21.2C (69.4F) in Kew Gardens, London, making Tuesday the hottest day of February, the winter and the year for England, the Met Office said.

The run of warm weather has seen daily maximum temperatures at Kew Gardens not dropping below the month's average of 7.4C since February 2, and staying above 15C for at least seven days.

Warmest UK February temperatures
Warmest UK February temperatures

Earlier in the day 20.8C (69.4F) was recorded in Porthmadog, Gwynedd, west Wales.

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On Monday, the thermometer reached 20.6C (68.5F) at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion, West Wales, the highest recorded in February and beating the previous record of 19.7C (67.4F) in Greenwich, south-east London, in 1998.

Parts of Britain on Tuesday were hotter than a series of popular holiday destinations, beating Malibu, Athens and Barcelona.

Holidaymakers hoping to catch rays in Crete will be bitterly disappointed, with the island seeing 1.2in (30mm) of rain on Monday and a maximum temperature of 13C (55.4F) forecast for Tuesday.

  1. Crete - max 13C/55.4F forecast

  2. Malibu - max 15C/59F forecast

  3. Athens - max 15C/59F forecast

  4. Rome - max 15C/59F recorded

  5. Barcelona - max 19C/66.2F recorded

  6. Lisbon - max 19C/66.2F recorded

Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans predicted highs of 18C (64.4F) on Wednesday.

She said: "Temperatures will be fairly similar, but it will just be a degree or two down on today.

"We are still going to have plenty of sunshine around, and it will be warm, just not as warm.

"And also in some places I think it will have a bit more in the way of mist and fog in the morning and that will keep the temperatures down in a few spots."

Climate change has played a role in pushing winter temperatures to new record highs in the UK, experts have suggested.

Winter weather Feb 25th 2019
People walking on Blyth Beach in Northumberland in 2018 (top) and today (Owen Humphreys/PA)

While the variability of weather makes it hard to link any single event to climate change, global warming is heating up the whole system and making extremes more likely, scientists say.

Grahame Madge, Met Office climate spokesman, said: "Climate change has made what would have already been an extremely warm event even warmer and is probably responsible for tipping it over the 20C threshold."

The warm weather is in stark contrast to this time last year, when the UK was swept by the "Beast from the East" which brought heavy snow showers and lows of minus 5C (23F), leading to travel delays and power cuts in what were the lowest temperatures in the week leading up to March 1 since 1986.

Winter weather Feb 26th 2019
A year ago snow was blanketing Edinburgh, a stark contrast to today's sunshine (Jane Barlow/PA)

Last year's cold weather was down to a similar weather pattern, but the high pressure instead came from Arctic Russia, moving over Scandinavia.

The conditions seen this week come from the tropic Atlantic and parts of North Africa.

However, by Thursday the weather from the Atlantic will bring colder showers, with temperatures dropping significantly, the Met Office said.

Heavy showers are possible as temperatures will struggle to get above 11C (51.8F) or 12C (53.6F).