Forget the Bahamas. If you’re pining for sunny climes this winter, head to Wales. As The Telegraph reports, a town near the country’s western coast saw temperatures of 68.5°F today, making it the hottest February day on record in the UK. Put differently, Wales is hotter than both Algeria and Athens, Greece right now—and it’s expected to stay that way until the end of this week.
The record was previously held by Greenwich, England, where temperatures topped 67.4°F in 1998. Meteorologists first started keeping track of the weather in 1910, but no February has been quite as balmy as the weather currently seen in the Welsh county of Ceredigion, which is located about 80 miles northwest of the capital city, Cardiff.
It’s also quite the drastic change from last year, which heralded the “Beast from the East”—a period of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall that blanketed much of the UK and Ireland. This February, instead of icicles and snowmen, people have reported seeing butterflies and bumblebees.
According to the BBC Weather Center, it’s difficult to say whether any given weather event is the result of climate change. However, it can be attributed—at least in part—to the warm air flowing in from Africa and the Canary Islands. The region is also experiencing the foehn effect (known as Chinook wind in North America) which occurs when air warms up as it travels down from the mountains.
It’s too early to tell if this summer will be unusually hot in the UK, but some locals aren’t taking any chances. Gardening expert Monty Don told The Telegraph that gardeners should “start storing rainwater now” in case the warm weather takes a toll on vegetation. For now, though, people are out enjoying the unseasonal warmth and sunshine while they can get it.
[h/t The Telegraph]