Britain hotter than Turkey! (Does this mean a hosepipe ban already?)

Cancel that holiday on the Med! Most of the UK is set to bask in glorious sunshine for the next few days, with temperatures predicted to soar to 21C (70F).

This means parts of Britain will be hotter than Rome, Athens, and Istanbul.

The sunshine is certainly a welcome change, but after the driest March in 50 years, Britain could soon face water shortages - and there is already talk of a hosepipe ban.

England and Wales received only 21mm of rain last month, a third of the long-term average, according to the Environment Agency.

The lack of rain means water reserves are in danger of running low. In the South West, Bristol Water has already been forced to pump water from the Severn to conserve its reservoirs.

Water companies are closely monitoring the situation in case a hosepipe ban needs to be brought in, with warnings of another summer like 1976, when weeks of blazing heat caused reservoirs to run dry.

The Met Office says the fine weather will continue into next week, giving water firms further cause for concerns, but there is a north-south divide, with rain expected in northern England and Scotland even having flood warnings.

However, for now, the sunny weather will be a relief to many starting the Easter holiday, with mini-break bookings set to soar, and coastal resorts preparing for an influx of daytrippers.

Brendan Jones, forecaster at MeteoGroup UK, says: 'All in all it will be pretty warm almost everywhere with temperatures in the high teens and getting towards 20 degrees.'

The forecast for the weekend is so good that the RSPCA has issued a warning to pet owners reminding them of the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars, conservatories or caravans.

The RSPCA's message is: 'Dogs die in hot cars. Don't leave your dog alone in a car'." It pointed out that the temperature inside a vehicle soaring to 47 degrees C (116.6F) within an hour.

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