Tiny taste of the SAHARA! Lockdown-weary Britons can expect the warmest weekend in three months with 61F highs… just as ‘substantial’ dust cloud is due to drift north from Africa desert
- South East and East of England likely to reach 59F (15C) tomorrow before nudging up to 61F (16C) on Sunday
- Last time temperatures got above 61F in Britain was November 18 last year when London hit 61.9F (16.6C)
- But sunshine will be in short supply with widespread cloudy skies – and heavy rain expected in the West
PUBLISHED: 08:21, 19 February 2021 | UPDATED: 13:32, 19 February 2021
Holidays to the South of France, Spain or Italy may still be a distant dream – but Mediterranean temperatures of up to 61F are forecast for parts of Britain this weekend as a ‘substantial’ plume of Saharan dust travels towards the country.
The South East and East of England are likely to reach 59F (15C) tomorrow, on a par with Rome and Nice, before nudging up to 61F (16C) on Sunday – but sunshine will be in short supply with widespread cloudy skies.
And scientists say Saharan dust is now moving towards central Europe, with Defra expecting it to arrive across South East England by Sunday – although it is not expected to impact UK pollution levels which will remain low. Read More
The last time the mercury got to that level was November 18 last year when London hit 61.9F (16.6C). The highest reading so far in 2021 was 57.6F (14.2C) – recorded both on February 2 in Cardiff and January 28 in Worcestershire.
But not everywhere in Britain will enjoy pleasant conditions this weekend – with the Met Office warning of heavy rain and gales which are expected to arrive in western England and Wales today and continue into tomorrow. +12
Early morning swimmers enjoy a prime view of a glorious sunrise over the North Sea today at Cullercoats in North Tyneside+12
People go for a walk or run on Hampstead Heath in North London this morning as the sun rises over the capital+12
Dust from the Sahara is moving towards central Europe, with Defra expecting it to arrive across South East England by Sunday – although it is not expected to impact UK pollution levels which will remain low+12
The sun rises over St Mary’s Lighthouse in Northumberland, just north of Whitley Bay, this morning +12
The sun rises over the countryside at Dunsden Green in Oxfordshire this morning
Nearly 100 flood alerts or warnings are in place – and beneath the rain, temperatures will be between 50F (10C) to 55F (13C). Some places will see more than the usual amount of rain for the entire month in the next 48 hours.
- Get ready for SUNNY Saturday: UK is set for glorious 64F…After the big freeze…the big thaw: Dozens of flood…Cars are buried in snow drifts in Scotland as Britain is hit…
Between 2.8in (7cm) and 4in (10cm) and even highs of 6in (15cm) of rain is expected – with 40mph and 50mph winds forecast in western coastal areas. The UK average for the whole of February is 3.46in (88mm).+12
Heavy rain is forecast for western England and Wales today
The Met Office issued a rain warning for Devon, Cornwall and South Wales between 9am today and noon on Sunday. Forecasters warn flooding is ‘likely’ and that heavy rain could cause travel disruption.
A separate rain warning is in place for areas of Scotland from 6am today until 9pm tomorrow, with forecasters warning that spray and flooding on roads are likely to extend journey times.
The Environment Agency has 61 flood alerts and five flood warnings in place for England this morning, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued 12 alerts and 19 warnings.
The alerts come as the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) forecasts a ‘substantial plume’ of Saharan dust traveling towards the North, which could reach parts of Britain and Scandinavia.
Most of the dust is expected to settle over Spain and France, though Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said: ‘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.”
‘What we can predict with our forecasts, however, is that the plumes will likely reach from Southern Europe up to Scandinavia and significantly affect air quality in Spain, France and possibly the UK and Benelux countries.
‘The high concentrations of dust can have health impacts on the respiratory systems of all people in the affected regions and add to particulate matter air pollution from local sources.’
But the high temperatures in southern England are predicted only a week after much of the country was gripped by sub-zero conditions and heavy snow.
Tomorrow, the Met Office predicts an east-west split, with ‘wet and windy’ conditions in the west and drier weather in the east.
Occasional sunny breaks are predicted tomorrow, most likely in south east England and East Anglia, but some patchy downpours could arrive in central and eastern areas later. +12
Britain looks set to avoid most of the Saharan dust being blown north, with the majority expected to settle over Spain and France,as seen in the bottom two graphs above