Britons have flocked to parks, beaches and pub gardens to enjoy the balmy bank holiday weekend – although the warmest weather of the year so far is still to come, forecasters say.
This month’s dismal weather has been replaced with sunshine, blue skies and temperatures in the mid-twenties, leading millions to head outside after weeks stuck indoors due to a combination of heavy downpours and COVID-19 restrictions.
It is set to get even warmer on Monday forecasters say, possibly reaching 25C (77F) – the hottest temperature to be recorded so far this year.
The current high for 2021 was 24.5C (76.1F) recorded on 31 March in Kew Gardens.
Forecasters at the Met Office warned people to slap on plenty of sun cream as UV light levels will be high or very high.
Becky Mitchell, a meteorologist from the Met Office, said: “We could potentially get to the hottest day of the year [on Sunday] but definitely by tomorrow.
“We will see highs of 24C (75.2F), most likely in parts of Wales and the Midlands and in northwest England as well on Sunday, it’s likely we could get to 24.5C (76.1F).
“We are expecting highs of 25C (77F) tomorrow, so the warmest day of the year so far, and both today and tomorrow we will see temperatures in the low 20s in most parts of the UK, even in northern Scotland.”
She continued: “The only exception is along the east coast – there is quite a lot of low cloud, mist and fog in east coastal areas and that will stay for the next few days, so highs of between 12C (53.6F) and 16C (60.8F) there – quite a lot lower than elsewhere.”
The nice weather has led some experts to urge people to exercise caution while out and about amid evidence that the spread of the Indian variant is pushing up coronavirus cases.
Earlier, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government would wait for the latest data on 14 June before deciding whether to proceed the following week.
Although a fine bank holiday is a rarity, this weekend’s temperatures are not unusual for the time of year.
Ms Mitchell said: “[Temperatures] could go up to 27C (80.6F) in one or two spots by Wednesday, which is pretty warm for the time of year but not record breaking and not exceptional.
“It is just because of the weather we have been having that it will feel pretty warm.”
May was the fourth wettest on record for the UK, and the wettest ever for Wales.
Despite some bookies offering 2/1 odds on next month being the hottest June ever, Ms Mitchell said there is nothing in the long-range forecast at the moment that would indicate that will be the case.
“There are no strong signals for it to be the warmest June on record,” she said. “Temperatures will come down a little by the end of next week, and it won’t be as warm from Thursday onwards, so there are no strong signals, although it is a bit early to tell.”