AFTER enduring the wettest winter since records began, an outbreak of hot weather has seen Yorkshire folk join the rest of the country by basking in glorious sunshine.
And though a cooler period is expected in the coming days, the arrival of spring has already prompted warnings for those in the region hoping to take advantage of the improved conditions by venturing out into the countryside.
Temperatures are this week set to fall by around 5 or 6C from the weekend high, when the mercury reached 20C in parts of the country, though the weather should stay largely dry.
It means racegoers attending the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, which starts today, do not have to pack the waterproofs and gloves they needed last year, when the meet was at risk from snow. But things may change towards the end of the week, with rain possibly moving into some northern areas as the high pressure system that brought the warm spell retreats.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, the Met Office predicts mist and fog early today will soon clear “to leave a dry and largely sunny day” with pleasant temperatures of up to 11C.
From tomorrow to Friday overnight mist, fog or low cloud is expected to clear each day to leave sunny periods, though there is a risk of overnight frosts and Friday is expected to be cloudier, with a few spots of rain.
Next week is set to be cloudier and breezier in the North of England, with temperatures dipping as time goes on. The Met Office said: “By the end of the week unsettled conditions may affect much of the UK, with brisk winds and temperature below normal.”
The Country Land and Business Association yesterday warned dog owners in Yorkshire and the North of England to keep their animals under control or on leads while on walks in the countryside.
With lambing season on the way, it is feared pregnant ewes can abort if they become stressed by loose dogs. Birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife are also at risk, with their young vulnerable if parents are scared away.
CLA North Director of Policy and Public Affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “Most people are very understanding and walk with their dogs on leads near livestock – but there are some who do not even consider doing this.”
In North Yorkshire, bird protection charity the RSPB is asking people in the county’s uplands to keep their eyes peeled for hen harriers, England’s most threatened birds of prey.
It has relaunched its Hen Harrier Hotline in the hope of discovering where these birds are potentially breeding.
The uplands of Northern England should have at least 320 pairs of breeding hen harriers but last year not a single chick was raised.