By Lizzie Roberts, Press Association
Last year was the seventh hottest and second sunniest on record in the UK, new figures show.
This means the ten hottest years all fall in the 21st Century, highlighting a general trend in the UK’s climate warming, the Met Office said.
Despite the winter freeze dubbed the Beast from the East, the year had an average temperature of 9.49C (49F), knocking 1990 out of the top ten. Temperature records in the UK date back to 1910.
The six-week long heatwave in the summer and relatively mild temperatures in the latter half of the year contributed to the relatively high average temperature.
The hottest month of the year was July with an average of 17.3C (63.1F).
The year was the second sunniest since sunshine records began in 1929 with 1,581 hours, only a few sunny spells behind 2003, which recorded 1,587 hours.
Some parts of southern England had particularly dry weather in 2018, experiencing their lowest rainfall for over 100 years.
However, the year was not dry for the whole of the UK, which received 90 percent of average annual rainfall with 1063.6mm.
January was the wettest month of the year with 134mm of rain, while July only had 35mm.
Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “2018 adds to our picture of the warming climate in the UK.
“Although there were memorable extremes of hot and cold weather, with the summer heatwave contrasting with the ‘beast from the east’, overall the mean temperature was well above the long-term average.”
These figures may come as a surprise after much of the UK was blanketed with ice and snow during February and March.
The coldest month of year was February with an average of 2.4C (36.3F), rising to 3.8C (38.8F) in March.
2019 also got off to a frosty start with temperatures as low as minus 6C (21.2F) recorded in Glasgow on January 2 and minus 10.5C (13.1F) in Braemar in Scotland the following day.