UK sees hottest day of 2016 as temperatures hit 21C


The UK saw the hottest day of the year on Thursday as temperatures soared to 21C (70F) in London.

But the mercury looks set to keep on rising over the weekend, with parts of the country predicted to be hotter than Spain and Los Angeles.

And while some Britons will be bringing out their barbecues for the unseasonably warm weather, a cloud of air pollution from the continent will blight others.

Across the country, Sunday is expected to be the hottest day, with the mercury due to top 26C (79F) in London and 21C in Edinburgh.

Parts of Europe will only see temperatures of 21C in Palermo, 15C (59F) in Madrid and just 19C (66) across the pond in Los Angeles.

Emma Sharples from the Met Office said in contrast to the snow and frost last weekend, there is a lot of "fine and warm weather expected for the weekend across much of the UK".

"This weekend we have the winds coming from the south and south east, which is where the warm continental air is coming from," she said.

"But it is not all going to be completely dry and settled.

"As we head through Friday night and into Saturday there is some showery rain that will spread up the western side of the UK - through Northern Ireland and into western Scotland.

"We may also see some potentially heavy and thundery downpours developing over parts of the West Midlands and into Wales."

Ms Sharples said there will still be a risk of a few showers across central England and Wales on Sunday - but there will be "lots of fine, dry and sunny weather around".

And while Sunday's temperatures will be higher than the UK average for May of 14C (57) - they are still off the record of 32C (90F) reached in 1922 and 1944.

The change in temperature is expected to bring with it an increase in dirty particulate matter, caused by exhaust fumes, dust and other pollutants.

A pollution forecast by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) shows Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland look set for high levels on Sunday - with moderate conditions expected across the rest of the UK.

A Defra spokeswoman said: "Pollutants are building up in some areas due to the fine weather combined with light winds and sunshine.

"Over the weekend south-easterly winds will mean a combination of continental air pollution and settled conditions across the UK is likely to result in widespread moderate levels of pollution."

Defra's advice for adults and children with heart and lung problems who experience symptoms is to consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors.