The unseasonably fine weather sent temperatures soaring again on Friday making the UK hotter than parts of Europe and Africa. The warmest place in East Anglia was Lakenheath, Suffolk where it reached 25C (77F) while the mercury rocketed to 28C (82.4F) in Bournemouth. That made it the hottest day of the year so far and putting Barcelona in the shade as the Spanish city could only manage 25.3C (77.5F).
The warm weather is set to continue over the weekend, with temperatures only falling significantly in the middle of next week. Train companies are gearing up for an increase in passengers of up to 25% in some parts of the country this weekend as hundreds of thousands of sun-seekers head to seaside resorts and beauty spots.
Places like Luton in Bedfordshire and Wittering in Cambridgeshire reached 24C (75F) the same as Athens in Greece while Casablanca in Morocco could only manage 22C (72F). The May average for East Anglia is 16C while it is 19C in June.
Friday's maximum temperatures in the Anglia region:
- Lakenheath, Suffolk 25C
- Wittering, Cambridgeshire 24C
- Mildenhall, Suffolk 24C
- Cranfield, Bedfordshire 24C
- Marham, Norfolk 24C
- Stansted Airport, Essex 23C
- Wattisham, Suffolk 22C
- Southend-on-Sea, Essex 22C
- Norwich Airport, Norfolk 21C
- Weybourne, Norfolk 18C
The fine, dry and sunny weather is expected to continue through the weekend and into the early part of next week.
Thousands of people are expected to head to the coast this weekend to make the most of the weather.
Edward Welsh, from the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc), said: "We are expecting thousands of families and sun-worshippers to pack their buckets and spades, straw hats and sunglasses, and catch the train to seaside resorts. There's no need to get hot and bothered behind the wheel of a car when you can catch the train."
In its latest briefing on the drought, which is still affecting much of eastern England, the Environment Agency said this week had been the driest since the end of March. Just 1.4 mm (0.06 inches) of rain fell in the Anglia region.
River flows have decreased from high levels seen during weeks of rain and are now normal for the time of year, while the warm sunny weather following the rain has prompted lots of plant growth, which has meant soils are drier than normal.
A number of monitored groundwater supplies have returned to normal or higher levels but eight sites remain "exceptionally low" for this time of year.
– National drought co-ordinator, Polly Chancellor
"The recent spell of wet weather restored many river and reservoir levels to normal, reducing pressure on the environment and public water supply. But groundwater levels in some areas still remain exceptionally low - so it continues to be important that we all use water wisely and try to reduce the amount that we use at home and in businesses."