Video report from ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers
The UK has provisionally recorded its warmest March day for 53 years as temperatures exceeded 24°C in places.
The Met Office confirmed St James’s Park in central London had hit 24.2°C by early afternoon on provisionally the warmest March day since 1968.
Earlier in the day, temperatures soared by more than 20°C in less than four hours as the UK entered a period of “exceptional warmth”.
The mercury climbed from a frosty minus 1.6°C at 7am in Santon Downham, west Suffolk, to 19°C shortly before 11am on Tuesday, the Met Office said.
The UK’s hottest March temperature of 25.6°C was recorded in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.
Unless temperatures exceed 24°C on Wednesday, Tuesday will be the warmest March day in the country for 53 years.The Met Office tweeted there would be “some exceptional warmth” and “massive” temperature contrasts as the month comes to a close.
Chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale said: “The UK will see a few days of notably warm weather to end March, with a maximum of 24°C on Wednesday in the south and east of England.
“There will also be plenty of sunshine across England and Wales, however parts of Scotland will see some persistent rain over the next couple of days.
“Conditions will start to change through the day on Thursday as cooler air moves in from the north east. Highs will fall to the mid-teens before falling further by Friday, especially along the east coast."
Monday was the warmest day of the year so far for England and Northern Ireland, with temperatures hitting 20.4°C and 17.3°C respectively.
“I know how much government has asked of the people in the last year, but I also know how magnificently – incredible patience and fortitude – people have responded,” he told a Downing Street press conference.
“It’s my view, overwhelmingly, people are determined to continue to do that and they do understand the need for caution.”