Britain is basking in its hottest early spring days for almost 200 years.
The country has not seen a scorcher like this since Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist.
The 21C heat puts Tenerife in the shade and comes as sudden BBQ weather sparks an out-of-season bangers, burgers and booze sales boom.
Supermarkets are scrambling to stock up as burger sales are rocketing by 50% and ice lolly sales are set to treble.
Tesco is expected to sell 250,000 packets of sausages, over a million bottles of beer and a million bottles of wine, while Asda is set to sell over 500,000 burgers and 250,000 sausages this week.
Cloudless skies were shown on satellite images as temperatures push up to 10C above the 11C mid-March average amid warm air from the continent.
The balmy temperature is the hottest March 22 since 1841, shortly after Oliver Twist was written.
The Met Office said: “Maximum temperatures will be notably above average through the week, climbing towards 20C", while Netweather said: “Spring has sprung.”
Channel 4 weatherman Liam Dutton said: “It’s a calm, settled week with temperatures widely reaching 15-20C.”
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However forecasters also warned that the dry weather will contribute to high levels of air pollution, especially in towns and cities.
Experts say that south-easterly winds are blowing pollutants in from Europe.
Becky Mitchell, senior operational meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Temperatures are rising quite quickly and there’s plenty of sunshine across the whole country today.
“Most places are staying dry and sunny and it looks very similar for much of this week – we hang on to that sunshine.”
Ms Mitchell warned that air quality is “looking quite low”, especially in northern and eastern areas of the country.
“High levels of air pollution (are) expected in the next few days,” she said.
“That’s because we’ve got light south-easterly winds and that’s just dragging in pollutants from the continent.
“And I think because we’ve got very settled weather and it’s not particularly windy, it just means pollution levels can build up over a long period of time.”
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