Parks and ‘essential’ recreation! Lockdown-weary Britons are set for weekend in the Great Outdoors as three days of spring sunshine with 55F highs starts TODAY – but Covid cops threaten crackdown on rule-breakers
- Second pleasant weekend in a row for UK with country bathing in sunshine and temperatures up to 55F (13C)
- South and East will enjoy best of the conditions with wall-to-wall sunshine expected tomorrow and Sunday
- But cloudy outlook for North, West and Scotland along with drizzle – and 47 flood alerts or warnings in place
- England and Wales has enjoyed very mild week for time of year with Wednesday’s highs above May averages
Britain is set to enjoy a second pleasant weekend in a row with the country bathing in sunshine and temperatures up to 55F (13C) – likely to prompt a rush to the parks for exercise during the third coronavirus lockdown.
The South and East of England will enjoy the best of the conditions with wall-to-wall sunshine expected tomorrow and Sunday, although temperatures are set to drop below freezing in places with a frosty start on both days.
But not all the country will enjoy the pleasant weather tomorrow, with a cloudy outlook for the North, West and Scotland along with drizzle – and 47 flood alerts or warnings still in place for England and Wales.
The weekend will follow a ‘beautiful’ day today which will bring similar temperatures to the South after fog patches clear primarily around river valleys, although cloud will remain over Northern Ireland and Scotland.
England and Wales has enjoyed a very mild week for the time of year with the warmth on a par with Malaga and Barcelona as Suffolk recorded 65.1F (18.4C) on Wednesday, which was even above the average maximum for May.
The change in conditions has been welcomed by Britons who have flocked to parks, after the Beast from the East II brought heavy snow and sub-zero daytime temperatures to much of the UK at the start of this month.
Open spaces have been busy with people doing their daily exercise, which is still permitted during the lockdown – before one-plus-one social meetings outside are allowed from March 8 and the rule of six outdoors from March 29.
Police forces warned the public that they would be on patrol this weekend to ensure people were still abiding by the restrictions, with Sussex Police noting concerns over ‘complacency’ and saying on Twitter: ‘Don’t stop now.’
West Midlands Police said it was ‘lovely weather for a walk’ and thanked people in a woods for complying with the guidelines, while South Wales Police acknowledged it could be ‘tough’ to follow the rules in good weather.
A man takes a morning walk at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire this morning as he enjoys the pleasant weather
Cyclists make their way through Richmond Park in South West London today with the City skyline in the background
A misty sunrise over Glastonbury in Somerset this morning after temperatures dropped below zero in rural areas overnight
Paddle boarders go out on the water at sunrise at Cullercoats Bay in North Tyneside on the North East coast this morning
Frost forms on grass along the bank of the River Avon in Bristol as the sun rises over the Clifton Suspension Bridge today
A man goes for an early morning run at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire today as the mild weather continues
Two cyclists make their way through Bradgate Park in Leicestershire this morning as the mild conditions continue
A view across to the City of London from Richmond Park in South West London today, with The Shard visible on the left
A herd of deer at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire this morning as parts of the country got off to a frosty start today
Police forces warned the public that they would be on patrol this weekend to ensure people were still abiding by the restrictions, with Sussex Police noting concerns over ‘complacency’ and saying on Twitter: ‘Don’t stop now’
The warm, southerly airflow bringing the mild weather since the start of last week has also been responsible for dramatic, vivid red sunrises particularly in the East after blowing Saharan dust north from Africa.
Met Office meteorologist Aiden McGivern said: ‘There will be a frosty start on Friday. In the countryside, -1C to -3C is possible. There will be some fog patches as well primarily around river valleys and they won’t last long.
The Met Office said today will be a ‘beautiful’ day for the UK
‘Then, it’s looking beautiful. Once any early rain and cloud disappears from Shetland, for the vast majority it’s simply a sunny afternoon. There will be thicker cloud still across Northern Ireland as well as western Scotland.
‘But for many it’s just blue skies and feeling mild – 11C to 13C. We keep clear spells in many places heading into Friday evening, quite widely across England and Wales, eastern Scotland for a time as well.
‘But in western Scotland and Northern Ireland, we’ll see the cloud thicken – outbreaks of rain push in here overnight. That will keep temperatures up at around 6C to 7C, whilst we see another frosty start on Saturday.’
He said the weather front that is bringing cloud and rain into the North West is running into an area of high pressure – and, with no strong winds to push it along, there is some uncertainty about its exact position.
But Mr McGivern added: ‘It looks most likely to bring a wet start to the day for central and western Scotland. The rain then slowly starts to sink into parts of southern Scotland, northern England and North Wales.
‘It’s a weakening weather front, the rain tending to peter out. Nevertheless for North Wales, northern England and southern Scotland it’s grey skies and damp, mostly some drizzle over the hills and the odd shower elsewhere.
Temperatures are expected to reach 13C this weekend with sunshine expected across the South both tomorrow and Sunday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his exit strategy on Monday for how it is hoped England’s third lockdown will end
A group of early morning runners at Richmond Park in South West London today, which saw a misty start
A herd of deer at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire today ahead of what will be a mild and pleasant weekend for Britain
Early morning mist at Richmond Park in South West London today after temperatures fell below freezing in places overnight
The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicestershire this morning as parts of the country dropped below freezing overnight
A ship sailing from the North Sea passes the mouth of the River Tyne as the sun rises over South Shields Lighthouse today
The sun rises behind the Liverpool waterfront this morning at the start of what will be another pleasant day for many areas
The sun rises in front of a statue called ‘Couple’ by artist Sean Henry at Newbiggin-by-the Sea in Northumberland today
The Snow Moon sets over St Andrew’s Church in the Cambridgeshire village of Sutton-in-the-Isle this morning
The Snow Moon sets behind Burbo Bank wind farm off New Brighton beach on the Wirral in Merseyside this morning
‘Either side, plenty of sunshine for central and southern England and Wales, northern Scotland, Northern Ireland brightening up as well, and feeling once again pleasant enough in the sunny spells.
Snow Moon appears at its fullest tomorrow night
The full Snow Moon was seen setting across the UK this morning.
The moon will appear at is fullest tomorrow night, but will look large and bright on the nights either side of this.
It’s given its name because of the snowfall common around this time of year in the northern hemisphere.
It was also previously referred to the ‘hunger’ moon because of the severe weather making hunting difficult.
Stunning photographs taken this morning showed the moon setting in Cambridgeshire and Merseyside.
’11C to 13C, 9C around some of those more exposed western coasts where we’ve got the thicker cloud and the drizzle. Sunday’s looking more widely dry with some decent sunny spells.’
The mild weather has seen colourful displays of snowdrops, crocuses and early daffodils. Guy Barter, of the Royal Horticultural Society, said people should enjoy the blooms while they can.
He said: ‘Now it’s turned so mild, the blooms are going to be over very fast. If people want to see the crocuses and early daffodils, they need to get out over the next 10 days or so.
‘With snowdrops, they are now on the cusp (of being over for the year) so you haven’t much time; you need to go and see them now.’
Mr Barter said the spring flowers have appeared at around the normal time, having been slowed by cold weather earlier this month.
But he added that it would be better for fruit trees if colder weather returns during March, to delay fruit flowers so they come out later in the spring when there is less likelihood of frosts.
He said: ‘We don’t want the warm weather to continue for too long – we need colder weather to return. Otherwise late frosts risk harming the blossom, leading to less fruit.’
The all-time monthly record temperature of 70.2F (21.2C) was set in London on February 26, 2019. The average UK daily high for February is 43.9F (6.6C), while the same figure for May is 58.6F (14.8C).
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