Unusually warm weather continues across much of northern Europe, with some of the highest temperatures being recorded across the northwest.

UK forecasters said that no national records had been broken yet, but they have come within half a degree in many places.

The English record of 17.7C, set in 1985 and 1994, was challenged over the weekend with a high of 17.1C in Gravesend in Kent.

However, this falls well short of the UK December record which stands at 18.3C, recorded in Achnashellach, Scotland, in 1948.

December temperatures in London have been on a par with those experienced last July.

Tuesday is the winter solstice and temperatures are expected to reach 16C - compare that to the 18C recorded exactly six months ago in London.

Meanwhile, Scotland is balmier than parts of Spain, with temperatures in Edinburgh creeping into the low teens as Madrid struggles to reach double figures.

The story is different for northern Spain, where the unusually warm weather and lack of rain has sparked more than 130 wildfires.

Elsewhere, high temperatures across the Alps have left some resorts, including in Austria and Switzerland, lacking in snow.

Even the use of artificial snow has proved difficult in places because it is impossible to stop the snow melting.


READ MORE: Extreme weather - coincidence or climate change? 


Moscow is also struggling to hang on to its snow and frozen surfaces. A 7m-high, 100m-long ice slide was turned to water just four days after being opened.

Nature is in a state of confusion right across Europe, with daffodils already out in England and cherry blossom blooming in Germany.

In Moscow, the botanical garden has heather and green buds starting to appear on some trees and bushes.

The Russian weather service is forecasting temperatures of up to 7C over the next few days. The average is -3C.

Source: Al Jazeera