Britain is likely to see the hottest ever February temperatures on record over the next 48 hours, the Met Office has predicted.
After basking in temperatures as high as 18 degrees over the weekend, the unseasonal conditions are set to continue on Monday and Tuesday.
And the all-time UK record for February of 19.7 degrees – logged in Greenwich in 1998 – is likely to be surpassed at some point over the next two days, meteorologists have said.
Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, explained the Scottish and Welsh temperature records for February had already fallen and the UK-wide one was within touching distance.
“We are likely to see temperatures today and tomorrow around 17 to 18 degrees quite widely,” he said.
“There is a good chance of seeing even perhaps 19 degrees tomorrow somewhere like Kew or St James’s Park.
“Once you start to get temperatures quite widely up to those values you only need really favourable and ideal conditions in one location… Perhaps if there is mist that clears early and you get good strong sunshine, we do stand a chance of temperatures surpassing that record.”
The balmy weather has been enjoyed across Britain, with places as far north as Carlisle seeing the mercury soar into the high teens.
Should the UK top the 19.7 degrees record from 1998, it will be warmer than Algeria, Venezuela and even the Syrian capital Damascus.
Mr Madge said the mild conditions had been partly caused by high pressure drawing up warm air from as far south as the Canary Islands and even the tropics.
But he cautioned against assumptions the unseasonal temperatures were down to climate change, as individual weather patterns were difficult to ascribe to global warming.
Nevertheless, in general scientists expect to see warmer and warmer temperatures as the climate changes in coming decades, Mr Madge said.
“One effect we expect to see is temperatures rising. Whether climate chance has given these conditions a nudge, it is the sort of pattern we would expect to see.
“What meteorologists will be looking for now is whether the weather pattern itself is a feature of climate chance or whether it is just a little bit warmed because of the background warming.”
However, the record-breaking weather is unlikely to stick around for long. By Wednesday and Thursday a new low pressure system building over the Atlantic will have pushed the warmer air away from Britain, Mr Madge said.
“There will be more cold around generally and into Thursday we start to see rain across southern Britain.”
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