Health Secretary warns Britons not to 'blow it' ahead of UK's hottest March day

The Health Secretary has warned Britons not to "blow it" ahead of what could be the UK's hottest March day on record.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 7:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 8:00 am

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkhill said it was a "possibility" that Wednesday's temperatures could surpass the March record of 25.6C (78F), set in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.

It comes as the mercury peaked at 24.5C (76.1F) at Kew Gardens in west London on Tuesday - the hottest March day in 53 years.

In Leeds, the forecast is for sun all day on Wednesday - with highs of 20 degrees according to the Met Office.

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Health Secretary warns Britons not to 'blow it' ahead of UK's hottest March day

People have been making the most of sunny conditions across England after Monday's easing of coronavirus rules which means groups of up to six, or two households, are now able to socialise in parks and gardens while outdoor sports facilities can reopen.

Under current Covid-19 guidelines, six people or two households are allowed to meet outdoors.

However, Leeds Council has urged people to remember to adhere to Covid safe guidelines, such as social distancing.

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “Whilst recognising that people will be keen to meet up with friends and family in our parks and green spaces given the relaxation in some coronavirus restrictions this week, we are asking residents to still fully respect all of the guidance currently in place.

“This includes those rules relating to social distancing and gatherings after hundreds gathered on Woodhouse Moor on Tuesday.

"This is vitally important if we are to continue to protect the health and wellbeing of ourselves and others.

“It is important that those who have had a vaccination continue to follow the rules.

"The full impact of the vaccine on transmission of the virus is not yet known, therefore it may be possible to spread the virus, putting others at risk.

“We hope our residents can enjoy the good weather and our amenities while still adhering to the guidelines.”

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a warning on Twitter on Tuesday evening, saying: "Let's enjoy the sun but let's do it safely. We have come so far, don't blow it now."

His comment comes after the Prime Minister said he hoped people would take advantage of the "beautiful weather" to play sport or exercise, while also emphasising the country should still "proceed with caution".

Mr Burkill said: "Temperatures could be a touch higher tomorrow (Wednesday) than they were today. Whether it will beat the 25.6C, I'm not so sure. It's on a knife-edge."

"It's not out of the question, but I'm not expecting it to. It's a possibility."

Temperatures are forecast to hit 24C (75.2F) to 25C (77F), with the highest figures expected around London.

The Met Office earlier tweeted there would be "exceptional warmth" and "massive" temperature contrasts as the month comes to a close.

Mr Burkill said: "The warmth is going to be very widespread across the bulk of England and Wales.

"Northern Ireland and many parts of Scotland will be cooler by tomorrow, so a little bit fresher.

"For most, it will be largely sunny, with a few bits of fair-weather cloud in England and Wales.

"In Northern Ireland and Scotland, it will be cloudier with a band of rain edging its way southwards."

Temperatures are forecast to drop in the east of England from Thursday, with the mercury only "scraping into double figures", Mr Burkhill said.

However, temperatures should remain around the high teens and low 20s across central and western parts of England and Wales.

Wet weather is forecast for Easter Sunday, with the chance of sleet or snow in Scotland and the far north of England.

Tuesday saw Wales record its hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury hitting 21.3C (70F) in Cardiff.

Northern Ireland also experienced its warmest day of the year with temperatures reaching 18C (64.4F) at Giant's Causeway, while Scotland saw the mercury rise to 18.5C (65.3F) in Lossiemouth, Moray.