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This weekend could see record February temperatures

Has spring sprung early? Photo: ITV Meridian

This time last year, the region was in the grip of the Beast from the East. Temperatures fell well below freezing - and snow closed hundreds of schools and left drivers stranded.

Fast-forward 12 months, and the weather couldn't be more different! Warm air from the Canaries means it's feeling more like Spring. And despite the cloudy skies today - this weekend COULD see record February temperatures. As Charlotte Cross reports.

This time last year our region was battling the Beast from the East. Heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

12 months ago the Beast from the East hit the region Credit: ITV Meridian
Snow and freezing temperatures hit the south Credit: ITV Meridian

Fast forward 12 months and forecasters say this weekend could break February temperatures with highs of around 15 or 16 - that's compared to the average for this time of year of around 8 or 9.

Although warmer temperatures in February aren't unheard of. In 1998 England saw highs of 19.7.

The sun has been shining this weekend Credit: ITV Meridian

Gardens are starting to respond to the milder conditions. Plants are coming into bloom earlier than expected.

Oxford Botanical Gardens is starting to worry about the wider impact of this early bloom. Staff there have spotted several flowers which aren't usually seen out for another few weeks.

Plants are responding to the warmer conditions Credit: ITV Meridian

Flowers aren't the only early arrivals either. At Finkley Down Farm in Hampshire, they've already welcomed the newest members of the herd.

Lambs have arrived earlier than expected at a Hampshire farm Credit: ITV Meridian
Spring appears to have sprung for some! Credit: ITV Meridian

As we enjoy a sunny weekend, forecasters say we should make the most of it.

There are concerns a possible late frost could come in March - which would damage any early blooms.