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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The hottest Easter since 1949... but after 82F heat, storms and flash floods put a dampener on weekend

By Daily Mail Reporter

The heat is on: Beach revellers in Skegness made the most of the warm weather. Temperatures are set to sizzle again today but it will get cooler during the week

Glorious sunshine and the sizzling heat will continue today as temperatures are set to soar to 79F (26C). But the mercury is not expected to exceed the record 85F (29.4C) reached on the same day in 1949.

The warm weather will last into the week but temperatures will drop, bringing relief for those suffering from the heat.

The country was also hotter than Madrid, which only managed to reach temperatures of 60.8F (16C), and Paris which was slightly warmer at 78F (26C) but still cooler than parts of Britain.

The Met Office said that there would be slight showers across the country today but not nearly as bad as yesterday. The downpours were torrential in some places with up to an inch of rain falling in just an hour.

In Sheffield there were reports of flash flooding. The thunderstorms moved through Kent, Surrey, London, Gloucestershire and the Midlands during the afternoon and were expected to continue north last night.

But the temperature still reached 82F (27.8C) in Wisely, Surrey 80.8F making it the hottest place in the country and the second hottest April day since records began in the early 20th Century and around 14 degrees warmer than average for the time of year.

Weather warning: Gateacre, Liverpool, had some thunder and lightning after a warm day yesterday. The Met Office has said it will be slightly cooler up North today but still unseasonably warm for this time of year

Windy front: The sudden change in weather caught Shona Starkey and Philip Hughes, of Birkenhead, off guard and they quickly made a retreat from their day in sunshine at New Brighton beach, Merseyside

Downpour: There were reports of flashflooding in Sheffield as the storms moved through Kent, Surrey, London and the Midlands. The Met Office said an inch of rain fell in an hour in some parts of the country

Sweltering: Britain has had record Easter temperatures and thousands of people, including this crowd in Brighton, have been making the most of the sunshine. Temperatures are expected to fall over the next few days

Blooming lovely: Bluebells in the grounds of Bowood House, Wiltshire have blossomed early because of the warm weather

Heatwave: Punters soak up the rays at Sandown Park, Surrey as they watch the bet365 Gold Cup Easter Festival on Saturday

It was also the hottest day so far this year.

Met Office forecaster Tom Morgan said: ‘This Easter Sunday looks like it will certainly be the warmest since 1984, when temperatures reached 23.7C, but possibly even since 1949.

Today will be yet another hot day, especially in the South and East, but there will be more isolated thunderstorms and rain moving in from the North.’

Weathermen say the spell of mainly dry and warm conditions is being caused by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the difference in air pressure between Iceland and the Azores in the mid-Atlantic.

The higher this difference, the further the jet stream is shifted away from its normal position hovering over the UK.

But if the NAO pushes it north or south of its usual position, the unsettled weather is directed elsewhere and very warm air is sucked in from Europe instead.

Fun in the sun: Children in Sheffield town centre make the most of the sizzling temperatures by playing outside. The Met Office has said today will be the hottest Easter Sunday since 1949

'Summer'in the city: The downpour may have curtailed the high pollution levels that caused the Government to issue a smog alert yesterday morning

The same pattern is what caused the prolonged cold snap over the winter. The mild and wet weather from the Atlantic was blocked and cold air from Europe was sucked towards the UK.

Weatherman John Kettley said: ‘We shouldn’t be too surprised about what’s happening at the moment. There are a number of factors which control what the NAO does but the UK is in a meteorologically vulnerable position and we’re subject to huge changes all the time. This is not linked to global warming.’

More than 100,000 people are thought to have flocked to beaches on the south coast yesterday.

Tourism bosses in Bournemouth said 90,000 ice creams were sold and all 3,000 deckchairs had been hired out by lunchtime. Hotel bookings were also 16 per cent up on the same time last year and most hotel rooms in the seaside resort were fully booked.

But those hoping for the clear skies and warm temperatures to remain for the Royal Wedding on Friday may be disappointed. Although it is too early to predict the weather for the day accurately, forecasters say the only certainty is that it will feel much cooler.

Temperatures are set to return to the seasonal averages of 55-57F (13-14C) in the South and just 50-53F (10-12C) further north, with outbreaks of rain moving in from the North.



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