Britain has warmest winter day as temperature soars to 20.3C

The UK has experienced its warmest winter day on record after temperatures rose above 20C in Wales, the Met Office said.

The thermometer reached 20.3C (68.5F) at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion, west Wales, the highest recorded in February and beating the previous record of 19.7C (67.4F) in Greenwich in 1998.

Meteorologists said it was the first time the temperature had exceeded 20C (68F) in winter.

It is also the earliest recording of an above 20C (68F) temperature in a calendar year, since 20.2C (68.4F) was recorded at Exeter Airport on March 2 1977.

The unseasonably warm weather arrives just 12 months on from when the Beast from the East blasted the country with snow and freezing conditions.

The Met Office said the warm temperatures were “exceptional” for the time of year, while Green MP Caroline Lucas linked the weather to “climate breakdown”.

Winter weather Feb 25th 2019
A view along the coast path in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, as the temperature exceeded 20C for the first time in winter in the UK (Francesca Nelson/PA)

Announcing the new record, the Met Office tweeted: “It’s reached 20.3 °C at Trawsgoed, Ceredigion making it the UK’s warmest February day on record.

“It’s also the first time we’ve recorded over 20 degrees in winter.”

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “It’s exceptional for it to be this warm this time of year.”

It's reached 20.3 °C at Trawsgoed, Ceredigion making it the UK's warmest February day on record. It's also the first time we've recorded over 20 degrees in winter pic.twitter.com/naGaJbjjWS

— Met Office (@metoffice) February 25, 2019

He explained the conditions were the result of warm air combining with a period of sunshine across the UK, resulting in higher temperatures.

Winds from the south and south-east, including from Spain and Africa, are pushing air over a part of Wales that has the greatest “land track”, causing it to get gradually warmer.

The further the air travels over land the more moisture it loses and faster it heats up.

Mr Burkill said temperatures of 20.2C (68.4F) in Northolt, west London, and 20.1C (68.2F) in Gogerddan, west Wales were also recorded on Monday.

Warm winter weather
Nobby the polar bear cools down at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park during unseasonably warm weather (Danny Lawson/PA)

Responding to the weather reports, Ms Lucas said: “I like spending an afternoon in the sunshine as much as anyone but it’s impossible to shake the feeling that this isn’t right.

“After last year’s unprecedented global heatwave and last month’s deadly temperatures in Australia, our baseline perception of what’s normal is shifting.”

“We are living through climate breakdown – and instead of taking urgent action, ministers carry on as if nothing has changed.”

She called on the Government to “wake up to this crisis”, declare a “climate emergency” and transform the economy to prevent “climate catastrophe”.

Winter weather Feb 25th 2019
Ladies enjoy lunch in the sun at Blyth in Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The Met Office said the predictions around climate change are that the UK will experience greater extremes of weather, including more higher and lower temperatures and unsettled conditions at times.

Forecasters said the current conditions brought with them the risk of overnight frosts in some places and patchy mist and fog in the mornings.

The warm spell is set to continue tomorrow and on Wednesday but it will become less mild and more unsettled from Thursday, with some heavy showers possible, the Met Office said.