Britain bathes in 17C heatwave that stops summer shortage

Glorious weather is finally drying out waterlogged fields in time for farmers to plant crops to avoid a summer food shortage.

Britain was as hot as 17C Australia today as a 500-mile wide “Portuguese pulse” of warm air sweeps across the country.

Forecasters said the “mini-heatwave” could last for another eight days and expected more sun with highs of 14C today.

Farmers were worried another stormy month like February would have finished many rural farms off altogether and leave the country short of home-grown food this summer.

Gavin Lane had to write off 40 hectares of crops after his farm near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, was hit hard by Storm Ciara.

But he said that the dry weather that started on Tuesday had spared many farmers from going under.

He added: “People are reasonably optimistic that this week and next they will be able to get their spring crops in.”

Mr Lane said some farms were still underwater but “if we’d had another month like February, we would have been in a real muddle.”

  • Brits believe extreme weather conditions are here to stay and will be 'the norm'

This year is forecast to deliver the lowest-yielding wheat harvest so far this century after record rain caused lasting damage to fields between the Wash in East Anglia and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Winter cropping was down heavily because of the floods and there were fears that the spring crop would have been too late.

The government has committed £10million to help those affected while the heatwave has come in time to rescue even some of the winter crop.

  • Rollercoaster week of weather to unleash 18cm of snow and 16C sizzler in UK

The Met Office said the sunshine will carry on over the weekend with temperatures at 7-9C but warned a cold snap was coming.

Weather maps show a 1,000 mile-wide cold air Arctic barrage on its way to the UK will bring snow flurries in the north.

Hills further south could be covered in the white stuff too, the Weather Outlook said.

  • Met Office
  • UK Weather
  • Heatwave

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