UK could see hottest March day on record today as Hancock warns ‘don’t blow it’

31 March 2021, 08:08 | Updated: 31 March 2021, 08:16

Crowds of people gathered on Primrose Hill in London to enjoy the mini-heatwave on Tuesday, with more high temperatures forecast.
Crowds of people gathered on Primrose Hill in London to enjoy the mini-heatwave on Tuesday, with more high temperatures forecast. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

The mini-heatwave is set to continue in the UK today, with forecasters predicting temperatures could near the hottest ever recorded in March, potentially surpassing the 25.6C recorded in 1968.

Brits flocked to beaches and parks on Tuesday, as warm weather coincided with the easing of rules on socialising outside.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that while people enjoy the sun, they need to be careful not to "blow it" at this stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mercury peaked at 24.5C (76.1F) at Kew Gardens in west London on Tuesday, with St James's Park in the centre of the capital also hitting highs of 24.3C (75.7F).

The figure is the hottest ever March temperature since the all-time record of 25.6C (78F) was set in 1968, at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.

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Many enjoyed the warm spring weather on Brighton beach on Tuesday.
Many enjoyed the warm spring weather on Brighton beach on Tuesday. Picture: Getty

However, forecasters predict temperatures on Wednesday will be even warmer than the previous day, with the Met Office suggesting the mercury will "get close to this all time March record" and that it is a "possibility" the record could be broken.

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said the temperatures are "exceptionally high for the time of year", adding he expects Wednesday to be a "touch" warmer than Tuesday.

"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," he added.

However, England and Wales are expected to see another day of warm dry weather on Wednesday, it will be cloudier with potential rain across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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But while many were seen enjoying the weather on Tuesday, Matt Hancock has urged people to do so safely, after a number of incidents of crowds gathering.

The Health Secretary tweeted: "Let's enjoy the sun but let's do it safely. We have come so far, don't blow it now."

Nottingham Council banned drinking alcohol in parks on Tuesday after footage emerged of a large crowd of students brawling and ignoring social distancing rules.

Pictures taken on Tuesday afternoon show police officers seizing alcohol from people sitting in the sunshine, while council officers have been checking bags at park entrances.

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Meanwhile, armed officers descended on Woodhouse Moor in Hyde Park, Leeds, at around 8pm, after reports of someone with a knife. There were no reports of injuries or arrests.

A police helicopter was also called in later in the evening, with videos posted online showing the park strewn with rubbish on Wednesday morning.

Police attended similar reports at a packed Primrose Hill in north London, with videos posted on social media appearing to show a man charing into crowds brandishing what appears to be a knife.

Police were called to reports of a "man armed with knife behaving erratically" as hundreds gathered at Primrose Hill on Tuesday evening.
Police were called to reports of a "man armed with knife behaving erratically" as hundreds gathered at Primrose Hill on Tuesday evening. Picture: PA
Others enjoyed a more socially distanced afternoon at St James' Park.
Others enjoyed a more socially distanced afternoon at St James' Park. Picture: PA

The Metropolitan Police said they conducted a search of the area but found no trace of the man.