February 2019 was a record-breaking month, Met Office confirms

February 2019 was the hottest on record for the UK, the Met Office has confirmed.

Daily maximum temperatures were the highest since records began in 1910, averaging 10°C, ahead of the 9.8°C recorded in 1998.

It also came in as the second warmest when analysing mean temperatures, which are taken over a 24-hour period, with a recorded 6°C compared to the 6.8°C clocked in 1998.

2019 saw its warmest-ever February day, with the mercury hitting 20.6°C (69°F) at Trawsgoed, Ceredigion, on February 25.

The previous high was 19.7°C in Greenwich in 1998.

A new English record was also set, with 20.1°C recorded in Hampton Water Works, south-west London.

People took picnics and sunbathed in Hyde Park, London. Credit: PA

The unusually warm weather has also resulted in a spike in the number of people complaining of hay fever symptoms far sooner than expected.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said most people affected by hay fever were allergic to grass pollen, which tends not to be a problem until later in the summer.

But tree pollen allergies rear their heads much earlier in the year - and social media was awash with people confused, and frustrated, by the sudden early onset.

"Trees always pollenate first - and the unseasonably mild and still conditions we've seen towards the end of last month will have helped bring things forward," he said.

"We know that elm, alder and hazel trees are now shedding pollen already, and that means for some people, hay fever misery has already started."

However, there is some reprieve around the corner, with conditions set to cool down somewhat in March.

"This will mix the air up a bit and disperse it," he added.

"The pollen will wash out of the air with the rain, so the affects will be lower."

Trees pollenate earlier in the year than other flowers and grass. Credit: PA

That will begin in Storm Freya, predicted to hit the UK over the weekend, with wet and windy weather forecast on both Saturday and Sunday.

Wind warnings have also been issued for Sunday and Monday, with gusts of up to 80mph expected around coastal areas, particularly in Devon and Cornwall, as well as Wales and north-west England.

Gusts of up to 65mph are predicted for other parts of England, Wales and southern Scotland.

People have been warned of potential damage to trees and buildings, and significant travel disruption, in the worst-hit areas.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology for Australia confirmed their summer had not only been the hottest on record, it had beaten the previous high by a significant margin.

The season, which runs from December to February, was 2.14°C warmer than an average Australian summer, compared to the previous record of 1.28 °C above average, which was recorded in the 2012/13 season.

This summer was also the seventh driest on record for the nation.