Britain is set for the warmest day of the year so far on Good Friday and temperatures could build further to reach 77F (25C) by Saturday.
The country looks set to be hotter than Rome as an area of high pressure brings warm air north from the Mediterranean – giving Britain an Easter heatwave and its first real taste of summer this year.
The warmest day of the year so far was nearly two months ago February 26, when 70.1F (21.2C) was recorded in Kew Gardens, South West , during February’s record-breaking spell of sunny weather.
Since then, the country has experienced changeable conditions with spots of wet and windy weather and even five inches of snow at the beginning of this month in the North East.
Met Office forecaster Becky Mitchell said: ‘Over the weekend, we are due to experience the warmest days of the year so far. Temperatures are likely to build through the week, and could beat the February 26 figure by Friday.
‘Figures could top 21C (70F). On Saturday, the warmest temperatures are likely across southern England and Wales. It could reach 23C (73F) or even 24C (75F) in a few isolated places.’
Saturday’s maximum temperature will be on a par with that expected in Marrakech, and warmer than Rome, which is set to be 21C (70F). Miss Mitchell said the warm conditions are likely to extend north-west.
BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood tweeted: ‘This weekend somewhere in UK may hit 25C (77F)… but generally we are looking at low to mid-20Cs. Remember, with sea breezes it will often be cooler on the coast.’
Easterly sea breezes mean temperatures in resorts including Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and Cromer, Norfolk, are only expected to reach between 57F (14C) and 59F (15C).
Forecasters predict the fine and warm weather to continue into Easter Sunday.
But Miss Mitchell added: ‘There is some uncertainty about Monday and there is the possibility wet and windy weather could make inroads.’
Before the warm weather arrives, a band of rain is set to make its way east across the country today. After the Easter weekend, there is set to be a return to more average conditions.
For the last week of April, the Met Office states: ‘The weather looks changeable and windy at times with showers or longer spells of rain, but still with some drier, brighter, spells. Temperatures should be mainly around average.’
The warmest place in Britain yesterday was London Heathrow Airport which hit 59.5F (15.3C), while the coldest was the North Yorkshire village of Leeming which fell to 26.8F (-2.9C).