UK weather: Warmest winter day on record as temperatures reach 21.2C, says Met Office

New all-time high measured at Kew Gardens in London

UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

The highest ever winter temperature seen in the UK has been recorded, beating the previous all-time high, set only yesterday.

A temperature of 21.2C was recorded at Kew Gardens in southwest London, beating the 20.6C measured at Trawsgoed, near Aberystwyth, on Monday.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge told The Independent: “To see temperatures of over 20C on a winter’s day is exceptional. The previous record was 19.7C and that’s stood since 1998. It is a rare event to see temperatures this high in February.

“We’ve had a series of weather metrics that have meant we are getting those sort of temperatures: The fact we are getting the warm flow coming up from the south, the fact we’ve got high pressure giving us sunny days, which is adding to the temperatures, the fact it’s been dry – dry soil means the ground heats up more quickly and helps to boost daytime temperatures.”

He added: “A lot of different variables have all aligned to give us these high temperatures.”

But by Thursday the high pressure system bringing warm air up from Europe is expected to give way to see a “potentially very strong” weather system move in from the Atlantic, bringing rain, high winds and a fall in temperatures.

Nonetheless, Mr Madge said the current high temperatures are considered “an extreme weather event”, and added: “The background rate of warming may have just nudged it up a little bit.

“February is meteorologically a winter month, and we are seeing the highest temperatures for winter ever recorded in the UK.”

In terms of average temperatures the month is “within striking distance” of becoming the warmest February since records began in 1910.

Meanwhile, 27 councils across the country have declared a “climate emergency” in an effort to force authorities to act against climate change.

Though scientists warn against conflating specific weather events with climate change, there is wide recognition extreme weather becomes more likely as the baseline for average temperatures has risen.

It is thought the impact of the hot weather in winter will hit animals hardest. Hibernating mammals which emerge too early may struggle to find food and waste energy, making them weaker and more vulnerable to predators.

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