After weeks of rain and cold winds, Britain may be on course for an Indian summer this week as temperatures are forecast to exceed 26C (79F).
Meteorologists predict an unseasonably warm and dry couple of weeks, with temperatures likely to reach the mid to high 20s in central and eastern parts of the country. This follows a dreary September so far, with an average mean temperature of 14C (57F).
A Met Office forecaster, Tom Morgan, said: "We are certainly going to see some dry and unseasonably warm spells coming up through parts of the country from Tuesday onwards next week.
"Central and eastern parts of Britain will see prolonged spells of dry weather and sunshine with temperatures reaching the mid-20s which is well above average for this time of year. It should also get hotter as the week progresses with temperatures reaching 25-26C on Thursday, and Friday could potentially be warmer than that."
The improved weather is expected to continue into October, providing welcome respite from what has been a wintry end to the summer. It is yet another unseasonable weather phenomenon in a year that has seen the earliest spring for decades followed by a washout July and August.
A spokeswoman for MeteoGroup explained why the country was facing the prospect of sudden balmy temperatures. "From early next week a high-pressure system will sit just to the east of the UK, bringing up warm south-easterly winds from the continent," she said. "By Wednesday most parts of the UK will have temperatures four to five degrees higher than usual, with London hitting 26C on Thursday."
She said the north of Britain was unlikely to feel the difference, however. "The parts of the country that are likely to benefit the most stretch from the Midlands to the east of England and southern parts of East Anglia."
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