Month on track to be warmest February on record – forecasters

Record-breaking temperatures have put the current month on course to be the warmest February since records began, the Met Office said.

The previous warmest February was in 1998, when the average maximum daily temperature was 9.8C (49.64F).

With just one day to go before the beginning of March, this year’s maximum daily average is already 9.9C (49.82F), the Met Office said.

People pass colourful flowers in full bloom near the Royal Crescent, Bath
People pass colourful flowers in full bloom near the Royal Crescent, Bath (Ben Birchall/PA)

Forecaster Becky Mitchell said it would be “exceptional” to beat the 1998 record given the chilly start to the month.

She said: “At the moment, the current average is 9.9C and of course we have got just one more day of February to go, so it looks like we are on track to be the warmest February on record.”

Ms Mitchell added: “It was really quite cold at the start of the month – it’s pretty exceptional to have caught up with the 1998 one.”

What a difference a year makes! This time last year 👉🌨️🧣Today (and much of the last week) 👉☀️🌷

— Met Office (@metoffice) February 27, 2019

On Thursday, “scattered showers” will bring an end to the hot spell which has seen new winter record temperatures set on two consecutive days.

Experts said climate change is heating up the whole weather system and making extremes more likely.

February’s exceptional conditions have seen fires at Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, on Saddleworth Moor in West Yorkshire and in North Wales, Sussex and Lancashire.

Thursday is predicted to stay mild, with cloudy skies and highs of 14C (57.2F) forecast in London.

But it will be more unsettled than the previous clear days, with “possibly heavy and thundery” showers moving east across England and Wales.

Friday will see some heavy rain in western parts of the UK, and the unsettled weather is to continue “right through the weekend”, Ms Mitchell said.

The conditions will be a “big contrast” to the sunny start to the week, she said, adding: “It will be wet and windy for the whole of the UK, and very strong winds across many places, and we could even have gales in the west.”