A welcome winter warmer!

Hartlepool Mail reporter Mark Thompson enjoys the unseasonably warm weather at Seaton Carew Beach yesterday.
Hartlepool Mail reporter Mark Thompson enjoys the unseasonably warm weather at Seaton Carew Beach yesterday.

FREEZING February seemed a distant memory as people enjoyed some unusual winter warmth.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that motorists were struggling in snow and ice as temperatures plunged as low as -5C

But sledges and gloves were forgotten about yesterday as thermometers hit 14C – a staggering 19C swing and double the average February high of 7C.

The unseasonable weather is being caused by westerly winds bringing in milder air from over the Atlantic Ocean – and they are set to last for the next few days.

With the warm winds will come gusts of up to 30mph, but the region should avoid any heavy rain with sunny spells expected over the weekend.

It may feel like spring is in the air, but the Met Office is warning that we haven’t seen the end of winter and morning frosts.

Its maximum 30-day forecast says: “During early to mid-March, daytime temperatures may start off below normal across some northern areas, bringing an increased risk of some wintry weather.

“However, a recovery to near or above normal values seems likely.

“Night-time temperatures follow a similar pattern, with frosts perhaps most likely at first.”

Seaton Carew was busier than normal as people took advantage of the comfortable conditions.

There were dog walkers aplenty, including Billy and Rachael Hatfield, who took one-year-old Cranberry on her first walk on Seaton beach.

Dad-of-three Billy, who lives in Billingham town centre, said: “It’s her first time. We thought we’d take advantage of the nice weather.

“It’s not exactly sunny but it’s warm enough. Hopefully this is the start of spring and the warmer weather is here to stay.”