Following a cold snap, spring has sprung early in the UK with temperatures set to rise to 18C (64.4F) in some areas this weekend, according to the Met Office.
Waves of warm air sweeping up from the continent will extend across the UK this week, bringing dry, sunny weather to many parts of the country – with the possibility of temperatures soaring 10C above the average for this time of year.
A combination of weaker winds and the mass of high pressure means conditions will be more settled and temperatures will climb to about 15C to 18C in places on Friday and Saturday.
Steve Willington, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “By the weekend we could see temperatures almost 10 degrees higher than what we might normally expect at this time of year, so there will certainly be a spring-like feel in the air across the country.
“North-western parts of the UK will be wet and windy at times this week, but settled conditions will spread to all parts of the country by the weekend, bringing plenty of sunshine and unseasonably mild temperatures that could well compete with current February temperature records.”
Balmier conditions look set to linger too. Chris Tubbs, deputy chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Although temperatures next week may not be as high as what we’re expecting this weekend, it looks like temperatures will stay on the mild side for the rest of February.”
The highest temperature on record for February is 19.7C in London in 1998. For Wales, Powys recorded 18.6C in February 1990. The warmest February in Scotland was in Aberdeen in 1897 with 17.9C, while Bryansford in Northern Ireland recorded 17.9C in 1998.
Predictions for the latter part of the month mark a stark change in conditions compared with earlier this February, when three people died after gale-force winds of up to 75mph battered the country.
At the beginning of the month, the coldest night of winter was recorded at Chillingham Barns in Northumberland, where a low of -11.7C was recorded.