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UK enjoys temperatures above 18C

The recent cold snap has become a distant memory for parts of England as temperatures reached more than 18C on Thursday.

The Midlands, East Anglia, southern and south east England all enjoyed unseasonably mild weather.

As of 2.30pm the warmest recorded temperature was 18.7C (65.7F) in Coleshill, Birmingham.

The mercury reached 16C (60.8F) in London but conditions were gloomy in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where temperatures were around 12C (53.6F).

Rachel Vince, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It's unseasonably mild. It's not unheard-of to get these temperatures in February but it doesn't happen every year."

The 18.7C reading at Coleshill was the highest, although there were also a few others over 18C, including East Malling in Kent and Santon Downham, Suffolk, which both registered 18.2C.

It was the warmest day of the year so far - and preliminary data suggest that the 18.7 reading was the highest for a February day since 1998, when there was a reading of 19.1C in Somerset.

Ms Vince said: "This weekend it won't be particularly wet but there will be a lot more cloud."

Maximum temperatures are expected to reach 11C (51.8F) on Saturday and 12C (53.6F) on Sunday.

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