April 19, 2011 / 3:17 PM / 9 years ago

Summer arrives early in run-up to Royal Wedding

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain basked in a spring heatwave on Tuesday with temperatures hitting nearly twice the seasonal average, as forecasters said the balmy weather would last into Easter weekend but cool before the Royal Wedding.

Central London office workers swapped suit jackets for short sleeves as temperatures in the capital soared to a high of 25 Centigrade (77 F) well above the mid-April average of 13C and a far cry from the usual showers and squalls.

“We are enjoying a few days of pretty warm weather and the whole country will see a predominantly dry Easter weekend. We could get up to 26C in the Home Counties around London tomorrow,” said Steven Keates, a Met Office forecaster.

“For the Royal Wedding weekend we probably won’t hit the dizzy heights of this week but it is still looking relatively dry. There could be bit more in the way of cloud and it could be a bit cooler.”

The UK is set to enjoy a run of Bank Holidays, with many businesses only open for three days out of 11 from Friday thanks to the four-day Easter break and Royal Wedding and May Day public holidays the following weekend.

Keates said the blue skies and bright sunshine were down to an area of high pressure centered over Scandinavia and warm breezes coming from the Continent.

Although the mini-heatwave is expected to peak by the end of the week, temperatures in the southeast of England will remain around 23C over Easter weekend.

The unseasonably hot April weather follows the UK’s driest March for 60 years, according to the Met Office.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Steve Addison

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