Wales

In pictures: Wales basks in record temperatures

Aberystwyth in the sunshine
Image caption Trawscoed in Ceredigion was the hottest place in the UK on Monday - just a short drive inland from the beach in Aberystwyth

Wales was the hottest place in the UK on Monday as the country basked in the hottest February day on record.

The mercury hit 20.3C in Trawsgoed, near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion - beating the previous benchmark of 19.7C, recorded in Greenwich in 1988.

Meteorologists say it is the first time temperatures had exceeded 20C between December and February in the UK.

The Met Office said the balmy weather is the result of warm air combining with a period of sunshine.

Image caption Sea and sunshine brings out the crowds in Prestatyn, Denbighshire
Image caption Ideal weather for some beach fun, on the first day of the Welsh half-term holidays

It comes a year on from the Beast from the East which left people battling snow and ice.

On Monday, meteorologists said winds from Spain and Africa pushed air over a part of Wales that has the greatest "land track", causing it to get gradually warmer.

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Image caption The Royal Pier in Aberystwyth is a popular spot to watch the town's famous sunsets
Image caption Flowers were in full bloom in Cardiff's Roath Park

The further the air travels over land the more moisture it loses and faster it heats up, the Met Office said.

"It's exceptional for it to be this warm at this time of year." said Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill.

Image caption Despite the record temperatures, the sea was too cold for most... except these brave souls
Image caption Enjoying an ice cream on the beach is not what comes to mind when we think of February

Average temperatures for the month of February in the UK are around 8C, the Met Office has previously said.

According to the Met Office, being a small island, the UK is usually a "relatively mild" country with weather mostly affected by conditions over the Atlantic and west of the country.

Image caption Daffodils are out - a reminder that St David's Day is just around the corner
Image caption The promenade in Penarth was a scene of tranquillity

The Met Office warned that conditions could be chilly, frosty and cloudy overnight on Monday, with temperatures in some places getting below freezing.

But the warm weather is expected to be repeated on Tuesday with temperatures possibly reaching 21C.

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