Weekend set for sunny weather
4:19am Wednesday 5th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Weather-weary Britons could bask in temperatures of up to 17C (62.6F) - higher than some holiday destinations in the Mediterranean - as a wave of high pressure sends the mercury rising this weekend.
Much of southern England can expect to enjoy temperatures in the mid-teens on Saturday and Sunday, weeks after heavy downpours and gale-force winds flooded communities and brought the transport network to its knees.
The dry spell, and likely accolade of Sunday being the warmest day of the year to date, will no doubt come as welcome relief to those still dealing with the aftermath of flood-damaged homes.
Sunday's temperature of 17C will top the expected 15C (59F) in the Greek capital of Athens and the 14C (57.2F) forecast for the Turkish coastal resort Bodrum.
London will also equal the 17C expected in Oran in northern Algeria and the same temperature in Mallorca, in Spain's Balearic Islands.
John Lee, forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "The weather will be getting much better into the weekend.
"The south of England will be somewhat drier than we've had recently, with a wave of high pressure.
"It means we're looking at a forecast of up to 17C in London on Sunday. Even other parts of the South could see 15C and 16C (60.8F) this weekend."
The warm weather will not reach all parts of the country, however - with pockets of north west England still expecting showery downpours this weekend.
But Mr Lee said those areas which remain dry can expect a few days in the sunshine.
He said: "There is a strong feeling that the high pressure will remain - it's looking promising."
The warmer weather forecast for the weekend is in sharp contrast to the record-breaking winter, which was the wettest on record for the UK.
Temperatures are expected to return to more normal levels next week, hovering around 9C (48.2F), the Met Office said. Forecasters predict high pressure to bring largely settled conditions, with sunshine and light winds.