Britain will bask in two more days of unseasonably warm weather with highs approaching 21C (70F) again today.
The Moroccan air plume has left beaches and parks surprisingly busy for February as sunseekers take full advantage of the winter respite, with yesterday the warmest winter day since records began.
Trawsgoed in West Wales had the highest temperature of 20.6C (68.5F) yesterday, while Northolt in West London recorded 20.4C (68.4F). The previous winter record was 19.7C (67.5F) in Greenwich, South East London, in 1998.
The top temperature in Britain as of 1pm today was 19.9C (67.8F) at Trawsgoed again, but this could still be beaten.
A family enjoy the sunshine at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset today with more warm temperatures on the way
Surfers make the most of the warm and sunny conditions this morning at Summerleave beach in Bude, Cornwall
Emily, two, enjoys running through the water at Summerleave in Bude today (left), where a surfer was also pictured (right)
A surfer walks in front of beach huts at Summerleave beach in Bude today as the UK continues to enjoy pleasant weather
A surfer rides a wave before sunrise on Boscombe beach in Dorset today as Britain could experience more high temperatures
Early morning light at Inverleith Park in Edinburgh today ahead of more warm temperatures for Britain on the way
A jogger makes their way towards Parliament Square in London today as daytime temperatures stay well above average
The Winston Churchill statue is photographed in the morning sun at Parliament Square in London today
Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said today could be just as warm, adding: ‘We could well again see similar values. Whether it will be record-breaking again, we’re not quite sure, but I think it could be quite close.’
The day started with some light frost and fog before the temperatures rise to highs of about 19C (66F) or 20C (68F) by this afternoon. North West Wales and London are most likely to feel the highest temperatures.
The warmth follows last February’s Beast from the East, which plunged temperatures below freezing and brought heavy snowfall across the country. Tomorrow will be slightly cooler but still above average for the time of year.
Heavy showers are possible on Thursday as temperatures struggle to get above 11C (52F) or 12C (54F). Friday, March 1, will mark the first day of meteorological spring and is expected to be mostly dry before a wet weekend.
Mr Miall added: ‘The weekend doesn’t look great, it’s looking wet and windy across the country. There’s lots of uncertainty over the details because it’s still a long way off but wet and windy seems to be the theme.’
The day started with some light frost and fog before the temperatures rise to highs of about 20C (68F) by this afternoon
A paddle boarder and surfer take to the sea as the sun rises over Boscombe beach in Dorset this morning
The blue hour at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay today as Britain could experience more record-breaking temperatures
The sun rises behind the Forth Bridge at North Queensferry in Fife this morning on another unseasonably warm day
A montage of the sunrise over the North Sea in Whitley Bay today as the UK could experience more record-breaking warmth
Temperatures recorded on Britain’s warmest winter’s day on record were hotter than the Algarve, where it was 18C (64.4F) yesterday. Malaga and Rome only managed a paltry 15C (59F).
Yesterday’s record highs were likened to a ‘climate breakdown’ by Green MP Caroline Lucas. Mr Miall said: ‘This kind of event is what climate change would expect but we can’t directly relate it to climate change.’
Conditions in Wales are being supercharged by a phenomenon known as the ‘Foehn Effect’, where moist air dries out as it hits hills or mountains, allowing temperatures to rise further as the air comes down the other side.
Mr Miall added: ‘The reason we’ve got this exceptionally warm weather is all down to a block weather pattern. This is dragging up warm air from the Canary Islands and southern Spain.’
Nature kicks off spring in response to warm weather
The unseasonably warm weather has prompted birds to try nesting, butterflies to emerge and hedgehogs to come out of hibernation early, experts said.
Migrant swallows and house martins have even been spotted arriving in the UK more than a month early, the RSPB said.
Conservationists are warning the early start to spring, which they say could be linked to climate change, could lead to a ‘real crisis’ for nature if the weather reverts to colder conditions, such as those seen in March last year.
The warning comes after the UK saw the warmest winter day since records began, with temperatures topping 20C (68F) in several places on Monday, and forecasts suggesting the mercury could rise to near-records again on Tuesday.
The RSPB’s wildlife team has been getting calls from people reporting early nesting attempts and even ducklings being spotted across the country.
There are also reports of hibernating hedgehogs and some reptiles waking up earlier than usual and butterflies emerging prompted by the warm weather.
Birds are travelling ahead of the ‘Saharan plume’ of warm air which is bringing the mild temperatures to the UK, with reports of swallows and house martins in Cornwall, Devon and South Wales weeks early, the RSPB said.
Martin Harper, the charity’s director of global conservation, said: ‘While the warm weather, bright sunshine and abundant sights and sounds of nature undoubtedly make us all feel better, they should also ring alarm bells.
‘The early signs of spring are likely down to climate change, which is bad news for us all.
‘As we expect the weather to return to temperatures more traditionally associated with this time of year – as they are forecast to – then there could be a real crisis for our birds, insects and other wildlife.’
The Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar scheme, which asks the public to track signs of the seasons, has been receiving unusually early records of spring this winter – with some as early as November.
Mild weather has led to records in January of red admiral, small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies and queen wasps, which are usually seen in mid to late February or early March.
Trees including field maples and European larches have been bursting into bud early and blue tits have been spotted making nesting attempts as early as Boxing Day.
The latest bout of unseasonably warm weather has seen more than 250 records of brimstone butterflies emerging for the first time since February 12, with 163 of the sightings taking place since Friday.
The butterfly normally comes out around March or April, the Trust said.
Abi Bunker, director of conservation and external affairs at the Woodland Trust, said: ‘Nature’s Calendar data has increasingly brought into question the way we think about the seasons and to see spring in December no longer seems unusual.
‘With butterflies, bumblebees and snowdrops being recorded across the festive period, we may have to start featuring different species on our Christmas cards.
‘But the Nature’s Calendar project is more than just spotting the seasons; data sent in by members of the public enables greater understanding of the repercussions climate change has for our beloved flora and fauna, and of the need to act to tackle global warming and other threats to our wildlife.’