Lockdown-weary people meeting friends and family outdoors for the first time in months this week will bask in summer-like heat.

The mercury is expected to hit highs of 19 C in central areas today, and will climb as the week draws on, possibly reaching as high as 24C in the South East on Tuesday.

The unusually warm spell comes ahead of a chillier and more inclement Easter weekend.

Across most of the country, as some Covid restrictions come to an end following months of lockdown, temperatures are set to soar, with many areas staying dry.

The Met Office is predicting a chilly start to the day but as Monday goes on the mercury is expected to rise and continue to rise this week.

A cyclist is hit by sea spray as they cycle
A yellow weather warning is in place for rain

A forecaster said there would be 'plenty of sunshine' developing in central areas of the UK, with highs of up to 18 or 19 C.

And the higher temperatures are set to continue into the middle part of week with early forecasts predicting a surge of up to 23C or 24C by Tuesday and Wednesday in parts of the South East.

The news will be music to the ears of people finally planning to meet friends and family in the coming days.

From today, groups of six or two households can socialise outdoors in England, with stay at home advice dropped.

But up in Scotland, there are weather warnings in place for western Scotland today as heavy rain of up to 10 inches hits bringing the risk of flooding.

A map showing the weather warning area
The affected region is for parts of western Scotland
People look at the London skyline from Primrose Hill in London
Elsewhere the temperature is set to soar in the early part of the week

The Met Office says in its prediction that affected regions could see homes and businesses flooded and there will be travel chaos on the transport network.

There is also a possibility of communities becoming cut off by floods and a loss of power and other services.

Forecasters went on to say there is a 'small chance of fast flowing or deep floodwater causing danger to life.'

The Met Office said: "Outbreaks of persistent and at times heavy rain will affect western Scotland from late Sunday afternoon until Tuesday evening.

People out in Cambridge enjoying the sunny weather.
It comes as some lockdown measures are eased

"During this period 80-100 mm of rainfall is expected to fall quite widely, with the potential for 150-250mm over the highest ground."

The yellow weather warning is in place until tomorrow and ceases to be in force at 6pm.

The Environment Agency currently has three flood warnings covering England, as well as 45 flood alerts.

In Scotland, there are 13 flood alerts and 26 warnings, while Wales has a total of eight flood alerts.

A map of the weather in the UK today
Highs of 18 or 19 C are predicted in central areas

UK Weather Forecast

Today:

Most places starting cloudy, but southern areas turning increasingly sunny, and warmer. North Wales, northwest England and Northern Ireland staying cloudier and breezy with a little rain or drizzle. Western Scotland continuing very wet.

Tonight:

Clear spells allowing some ground frost and patchy fog to form in the south. Cloudier and breezier further north with persistent rain in the northwest of Scotland.

Tuesday:

Rain in north of Scotland and some low cloud and fog affecting Irish Sea coasts. Else, dry with long sunny periods developing and becoming very warm inland England and Wales.