Clive Bull 1am - 4am
UK weather: High temperatures predicted this weekend as lockdown measures are eased
13 May 2020, 09:35
Temperatures in parts of the country could reach 21C (70F) this weekend, the first since lockdown restrictions were eased in England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged everyone to stay at home on March 23 as the Covid-19 crisis deepened.
But people in England will be able to spend time outdoors, sunbathe and travel to beauty spots from Wednesday - even if the weather might not make the idea appealing straight away.
Met Office meteorologist Matthew Box said there would be sunshine for the country on Wednesday but chilly winds would lead to maximum temperatures of around 15C (59F).
He said: "It's going to be a cloudy start across the southern half of the UK, there's a weak band of cloud passing southwards.
"It should break up into the afternoon and across England and Wales we'll see some sunny spells.
"There will be a bit of a fresh wind for eastern and south-eastern parts of England as well in places, so it's still going to feel on the chilly side.
"Temperatures about 14-15C in the south, but in the south and east again, that's going to take the edge off those temperatures and make it feel a bit colder."
For the weekend, a current band of high pressure will remain and it will be cloudy across the north and north-west of the country, with a potential for rain in western Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England.
But Mr Box said Wales and much of England were forecast to remain dry with some sunny spells.
"Temperatures will have recovered by then to be mostly near normal (for the time of year), and it could be warm even and parts of the south could see temperatures hit 20 or 21 in the south east on Saturday and, more likely, Sunday," he said.
It follows the Government’s announcement of a new three-stage roadmap, which includes a “conditional plan” to allow people in England to visit parks with one member of another household - following social distancing - and travel an unlimited distance for leisure.
Step two may also see sporting events resuming behind closed doors and some non-essential shops reopening.
Pubs, hairdressers and cinemas would not get to reopen until 4 July - step three - at the earliest, and only with strict social distancing in force.
But the PM warned that if the Government’s new virus ‘alert level’ rises from its current four to the most severe stage five, the restrictions will tighten, adding the five tests to lifting the lockdown were not met.
"We will have no hesitation in putting on the brakes, delaying or reintroducing measures – locally, regionally or nationally,” he told the Commons on Monday.
Downing Street has been rebuked by devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordering Scots to ignore the PM’s “vague” and “imprecise” new approach.