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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hotter than Jordan! Five weeks before Christmas Britain basks in balmy 16C temperatures while spring flowers bloom

-November set to go down as the warmest ever recorded
-Britain is warmer than famous hot-spots around the world
-Forecasters admit there is 'no imminent arrival of winter'

By Claire Ellicott

Bright: The sun falls across St James's Park as a pelican prepares to fly across the park's lake in central London

It may be little more than a month until Christmas, but it seems winter still hasn’t really got going.

Balmy temperatures this weekend will mean Britain is hotter than Jordan.

It will be unseasonably mild, according to predictions, with temperatures averaging 14c (57f) across Britain, as the unexpectedly warm November weather continues.

Take-off: The pelican sets off on its journey with the rays from the warm sun bouncing off the lake

Last Thursday, temperatures in Gravesend, Kent, reached 16.2c (61f). And today, they are expected to reach 15.5c (60f) there – hotter than Amman, Jordan, where the temperature is 13c (55f).

It is also set to be warmer than Damascus, Syria, where it is 13c and match Shanghai, China, where it is 15c. The outlook is not entirely positive, though, as some areas will be cloudy and may see showers, according to forecasts.

So far, temperatures this month have averaged 9.4c (49f) – 3.5c above the November average of 5.9c (43f).

But it could soon be time to finally dig out those woolly jumpers, as the Met Office has warned that the warm spell is unlikely to continue much past this weekend.

Spring-like: A mallard at London Wetland Centre has hatched a clutch of 11 ducklings, about six months later than usual

Relaxed: A squirrel takes advantage of the nice weather by sitting in fallen leaves in St James's Park

Sarah Holland, a Met Office forecaster, said: ‘The first part of the month has been very warm. We have been seeing very mild temperatures of around 14-15c during the day which will continue into the weekend.’

The unseasonably warm weather is down to milder southerly winds blowing across from the Continent, according to the forecaster.

Normally, Britain would be experiencing cooler westerly winds from across the Atlantic.

‘The warm weather is also down to an area of high pressure over the UK and that brings in the milder conditions,’ she added.

Autumnal: A woman walks in the early morning sunshine in St James's Park

Outdoor fun: A man plays baseball among the fallen leaves

'As we move into next week, we will see temperatures return to normal for November. It will be quite cold, especially compared with the warmer weather we’ve been experiencing.’

Night-time temperatures this month, averaging 6.6C (44f) over the first 15 days, have also been higher than the average of 4-5c (39-41f).

And this November has been one of the driest on record, with 25.6mm of rain falling – 22 per cent of the monthly average of 116mm. But Miss Holland said it would be difficult to predict whether it would be the warmest on record.

The current record for November was set in 1994, when temperatures averaged 8.8c (48f).

While the warm weather might seem like a blessing to most of us, it has left wildlife confused.

Swallows, whose arrival usually marks the beginning of summer, have been spotted on Teesside.

Frogs have begun mating and in London, a duck has hatched a clutch of 11 ducklings six months earlier than usual.

The ducklings, which would normally be born between April and June, could be seen paddling on the entrance lake at the London Wetland Centre, in Barnes, yesterday.

Jamie Wyver, of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: ‘Fortunately, the mild weather means there is still a fair bit of greenery out there for the ducklings to nibble on.’

The balmy conditions that Britain has been experiencing look set to continue into next week.

It has also left forecasters admitting that - despite being so close to Christmas - there is still no sign of winter.

Met Office forecaster Dan Williams said: 'We’re expecting 15C on Saturday in the south-west, 14C in the south and 13C in Scotland.

'Saturday will see sunshine in the east, south-east and central parts, with less sunshine around on Sunday in cloudier conditions, but still 14C in the south-west and 12C in Scotland.

'Temperatures will remain mild into the middle of next week.'

Forecaster Brian Gaze of The Weather Outlook added: 'The mild southerly winds causing this unusually-mild autumn are proving incredibly stable and difficult to shift, with no imminent arrival of winter ahead.'

Just like summer: A bee pollinates a flower. It is an image which you'd not normally expect to see in the middle of November

Glorious: Flowers in full bloom in St James's Park



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