UK weather: Easter weekend heatwave could bring 'deadly pollen bomb'

Britons might be looking forward to a hot and sunny Easter weekend, but they could also have to contend with a so-called "deadly pollen bomb".

The phenomenon occurs when cold and wet winters are followed by a sudden spell of bright and balmy conditions, which is exactly what forecasters are predicting for the coming days.

It represents bad news for the millions of hay fever and asthma sufferers around the UK, the latter of whom have been warned they could be in danger of a potentially fatal attack.

The Met Office is forecasting a high chance of pollen stretching from the South West up into Scotland on Saturday, which will arrive amid top temperatures of around 24C (75.2F).

Birch, ash and willow pollen are all due to be airborne, and plants could also provide their fair share due to an earlier spring, which causes them to flower far sooner than they otherwise would.

Sonia Munde, head of services for Asthma UK, said: "A deadly pollen bomb is due to hit this week, putting people with asthma at risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

"Around 3.3 million people with asthma are affected by pollen, which can cause symptoms such as wheezing, a tight chest or coughing.

"Trees have been releasing their pollen for several weeks, but the warm spring weather is going to make these pollen levels spike."

As well as more than three million people with asthma who are affected by pollen, around 13 million Britons suffer from hay fever.

Those who suffer are advised to take their prescribed medications early to give themselves the best chance of effectively combating the symptoms.

Ms Munde said: "If you're already getting symptoms, it's not too late to help yourself stay well. Take your prescribed preventer medicine to soothe your irritated airways so you're less likely to react to the pollen trigger.

"Take hay fever medicines such as antihistamines as they stop the allergic reaction that triggers asthma symptoms and keep itchy eyes and runny noses at bay.

"Everyone with asthma should keep their blue reliever inhaler with them at all times in case of an emergency."

While the Met Office has warned that pollen levels can be difficult to predict, a potential turn in the weather at the beginning of next week could lead to them being reduced.

For those not impacted by pollen, it will be an extremely pleasant bank holiday weekend.

Last April was the third hottest on record, according to National Geographic, and the UK saw its warmest April day since 1949 on 19 April when temperatures soared to 29.1C (84.38F) at St James's Park.

Sky weather forecaster Isobel Lang said while we should still expect some morning mist and fog, there will also be "plenty of strong sunshine" to follow and "we could get close to those previous highest temperatures".

It could see the UK boast temperatures hotter than Corfu, as well as Bodrum in southern Turkey and Marbella.

The forecast will be good news for the millions of Britons planning to hit the road for an Easter getaway.

More than 25 million leisure car trips are expected to take place this week, with 15 million in the run-up to Good Friday and further 12 million across the bank holiday break.

Good Friday is expected to feature the most extreme jams, with RAC research suggesting 4.4 million journeys are set to clog up major routes between 11am and 4.30pm.

According to the RAC, the best day to travel if you want to avoid major traffic will be Saturday.