It may still be winter, but in western and central Europe, February is ending on an unusually warm and springlike note. A strong high pressure system parked over the continent has caused temperatures to soar, setting new winter temperature records from England to Sweden.
On Feb. 26, southwest London reached 70.1 degrees (21.2°C), marking the United Kingdom's warmest winter day on record, according to the U.K. Met Office. The new record occurred just days after Scotland set a new February record of 65 degrees (18.3°C) on Feb. 21.
Record-breaking February warmth was also reported in the Netherlands and Sweden. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute said temperatures in De Bilt, the country's main weather observing station, reached 66 degrees (18.9°C) this week, the warmest reading there since records began more than a century ago. Farther east, Sweden saw its warmest February day on record, as temperatures hit 62 degrees (16.7°C) in the southern part of the country.
The warm, dry weather pattern can be seen in recent satellite imagery of Western Europe. The image above – captured Feb. 25, 2019 by the VIIRS instrument on the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite – shows mostly clear skies in France, Germany, England, and the Belgium and the Netherlands. The lack of cloud cover offers a rare winter view of the snow-covered Alps in southeast France, northern Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
An unlabeled version of this image can be downloaded here.