Britain enjoys hottest day of year
Published 23/05/2010 | 18:02
Britons sweltered in soaring temperatures as much of England and Wales enjoyed the hottest day of the year so far.
The mercury across some parts of the country outstripped recorded highs in well known Mediterranean hotspots.
Sun seekers flocked to city parks to soak up the rays, while beaches at popular seaside resorts were packed with people building sand castles and paddling in the sea.
Temperatures in several major British cities climbed into the late-20s, beating notoriously sunny European cities.
Norwich hit a high of 29C, well ahead of Rome on 26C, Madrid on 28.2C and Cannes on 23.4C. Sheffield reached 27.6C, Heathrow 27.5C and Birmingham 26.5C, while Durham notched up 24.9C and Cardiff 24C, ahead of Athens and Rhodes on 23C.
At zoos, keepers cooled down their animals using hoses, while the heatwave led to a surge in sales of ice cream and BBQ food as shoppers dusted off the BBQs to enjoy the sunny weekend weather.
Tesco said it sold more than one million litres of ice cream on Saturday and was expecting to sell approximately 13 million sausages over the two days.
Gareth Harvey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association said: "England and Wales in general have seen wall to wall sunshine again with hardly any cloud. There has been a fly in the ointment locally across parts of north east England with one or two thunder storms breaking out.
"Scotland has had a bit more cloud, with showery rain and isolated showers, especially in the north. Northern Ireland has also had a pretty good day with hardly any cloud."
He added: "Temperatures have been well above what we would normally expect for this time of year (18C). It's been the warmest day of the year so far across most parts of England and Wales. People should make the most of it as the week ahead is going to be a lot cooler. Tomorrow southern counties will be warm, but certainly the trend for colder weather will spread south during the week. By Wednesday temperatures will be below average on 15-16C."