Brits hit parks and beaches as 16C Sahara dust plume brings first taste of spring freedom after winter lockdown misery

BRITS hit parks and beaches today as temperatures soared to 16C across the UK in the first taste of spring freedom after winter lockdown misery.

And the winter snow, ice, and frost may be behind us, with the warm weather set to stay all week across parts of southern England because of a Sahara dust plume.

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Temperatures hit a balmy 16C today with southern Brits taking the opportunity to get outside and stretch their legs after months of cold weather during lockdown.

The warm weather is a stark contrast to this day last week which saw freezing rain, treacherous ice and 80mph gusts.

The last time temperatures hit highs of 16C was November 18 last year in London – and the hottest day since was February 2, where 14.2C was recorded in Cardiff.

Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service comments: “We monitored similar events in the past weeks with significant air quality impacts in the affected regions, which were confirmed by surface measurements from the countries gathered by the European Environment Agency.

"We expect this will also be the case for the upcoming event, although it is not yet certain to what extent the plume will be visible to the naked eye.

"Dust plumes from the desert can cause red skies, limited visibility or stains on cars and windows from dust deposition, but these impacts are difficult to predict quantitatively as far as 4 or 5 days in advance.”

The un-seasonal weather may also cause a spot of bother for hayfever sufferers as the above average temperatures could trigger an increase in pollen levels.

The National Pollen Monitoring Network based at the University of Worcester forecasts fungal spores will be moderate to high until next week Dr Beverley Adams-Groom, chief pollen forecaster, at the NPMN, said: "At this time of year, we usually see hazel and alder tree pollen coming into peak season.

"The pollen is released during mild weather in dry and breezy conditions like those we are experiencing at the moment and which will continue over the coming week.

"The minority of hay fever sufferers who are affected by these pollen types are likely to be affected.

"The main tree pollen season will start in late March or early April with silver birch pollen and then oak pollen from mid-April.

"They finish by mid-late May and about 20-35% of hay fever sufferers are affected by these types." 

This comes after a month of freezing weather which has seen severe snowfall across the UK.

On Wednesday night last week, the UK’s coldest temperature for 65 years was recorded in Aberdeenshire when locals endured -23C.

The River Thames froze over for the first time in 60 years as the Beast from the East 2 blasted Britain.


The Baltic blast froze Trafalgar Square's fountains and brought large amounts of snowfall to regions across the country.

But not everyone in Britain will be enjoying a mild weekend – with the Met Office issuing SIX weather warnings for rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Parts of southern England, Wales, and western Scotland will face persistent, heavy rain which will cause flooding and disruption to transport.

Interruptions to power supplies and other services are possible in the affected areas as they battle the February deluge.

The Met Office said: "Following recent rain, and further rain on Thursday, another band of rain is expected to become slow moving over Wales and western England.

"Whilst many places will see a spell of heavy rain, high ground of southwest England and south Wales, exposed to the south, will likely see the largest rainfall totals.

"Here, some 70-100 mm of rain is possible, with the most exposed parts of Dartmoor and the Brecon Beacons potentially seeing up to 150 mm by Sunday lunchtime.

"As well as heavy rain, strong to gale force southerly winds will be an additional hazard."

The southern weather warnings will be in place for a total of 51 hours – lasting until midday on Sunday.

And in Scotland, melting snow is likely to contribute to the flood risk in the area.

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