Temperatures soar - but cold on its way

TEMPERATURES soared to a record high yesterday, but the balmy Mediterranean sunshine is already on its way out, leaving behind a bleak outlook for winter.

By Danielle Nuttall

TEMPERATURES soared to a record high yesterday, but the balmy Mediterranean sunshine is already on its way out, leaving behind a bleak outlook for winter.

The mercury rose to 67F (19C) in East Anglia yesterday - making it the hottest October 27 in the region ever.

But weather experts say the unseasonally high temperatures are not here to stay and they predicted the coldest winter for at least 10 years in the months ahead.

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Ken Blowers, East Anglian Daily Times weatherman, put the recent hot spell down to a flow of air, originally from north Africa, coming across Spain and France.

He said temperatures only usually reached an average of 57F (14C) this close to November.

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But he added: “It's over already. Today will drop in temperature and it will not go over 64F (18C). I would go as far as to say we will not see any day this warm until next April. In November it is extremely rare to get anything this high.”

Mr Blowers said it would be colder than usual this winter due to a higher frequency of airstreams coming from the north east and the east.

“This always means that East Anglia comes off worse because we are the area where it first hits,” he said.

“Some forecasters are saying it will be the coldest since 1963, which was the coldest winter in at least 200 years. The snowiest winter was in 1947.

“The Metrological Office says it will be the coldest winder for at least 10 years.

“There will be far less mild winds coming from the north Atlantic and the south west. The weekend will be unsettled with temperatures considerably down on this very warm spell.”

Elsewhere in Britain, temperatures rose even higher than East Anglia, with central London seeing temperatures rise to 21.5C, more than a degree higher than the previous record of 20.3C which was measured in the capital in 1888.

The remote crofting community of Aultbea in the north west of Scotland had the second highest temperature with 21.2C and scores of other towns and cities measured in the early 20s.

Yesterday's sunny weather answered the prayers of many parents and children keen to make the most of the last few days of half-term.

The break had looked like being a wash out after torrential rain earlier this week but the record temperatures meant even a trip to the beach was a possibility.

This month was believed to be in the top five hottest Octobers recorded but in spite of its warmth, gamblers were predicting winter weather at the other extreme.

Long-range predictions have warned a big chill is on the way and bookmakers have shortened odds on record low temperatures (-27.2C in Aberdeenshire on January 2 1982) being endured in Scotland.

William Hill is even taking bets at 100-1 that the Thames will freeze over between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge.

But the same firm is offering 12-1 for the UK's hottest temperature ever to be recorded next year.

Yesterday's mini heatwave came as Prince Charles warmed about the dangers of global warming, saying the issue should be taken more seriously for the sake of future generations.

“We should be treating the whole issue of climate change and global warming with a far greater degree of priority than is happening now,” he said.

The prince will next week tour the US - seen by many environmentalists as the worst offender in terms of global warming - where President Bush has refused to sign the Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

He told an interview BBC News 24: “Again, if you think about your ... and my grandchildren, I mean this is what really worries me.

“I don't want them, if I'm still alive by then, to say 'why didn't you do something about it, when you could have done' - and this is the point.”

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