WEYMOUTH has just enjoyed the sunniest spring on record.

The Echo's weather statistician, Roger Willis, reports that the town has basked in a glorious 947.1 hours of sunshine from the beginning of March to the end of May - a significant increase from former record-breaking years combined.

Previously, the sunniest March on record was in 2007 when there were 222.6 hours of sun, compared with March 2020's 285 hours.

April this year saw 275.7 sunny hours, compared with Weymouth's second-sunniest: April 2010, which had 270.2.

The former sunniest May on record was back in 1989 when there were 322.9 hours of sunshine - but we had a blazing 385.7 last month.

Those past months add up to a total of 815.7 hours' sunshine - which pales in comparison to 2020's figure.

It has also been the second driest May on record, with 2.2 millimetres of rain. The driest was in 1989 with just 1.9 millimetres.

Mr Willis - who also provides data to the Met Office and Environment Agency - said Weymouth "must be one of the top sunshine places" in England.

"National papers report it has been a record-breaking spring in the UK with 573.2 hours of sunshine - that's peanuts compared to what we've had," he said. "We are way above the average for England.

"I think people have been very good about the lockdown - possibly because of the wonderful sunshine they've enjoyed. If it had been raining all the time we'd have been miserable."

Asked whether the news should come with a warning to prevent visitors flocking to soak up the weather, Mr Willis added: "They've already done that - it is absolutely packed solid at Bowleaze Coveway and has been for several days.

"But this is positive news for good old Weymouth - we've come up with record sunshine hours."

Mr Willis - who has been recording rainfall data for 30 years, and sunshine for over five years - as well as researching historic records - said there's a possibility of a shower mid to late next week.

"It would be the first rain since May 5 - over a month that we've not had a drop of rain," he added.

"The Met Office over several years has said we are in for drier summers and wetter winters.

"The amount of weather we get - either good or bad - seems to be accentuated with this global warming which is taking place.

"Personally, as a gardener and former farmer, I agree - everything has got earlier and earlier in the spring; I think this great period of sunshine could be an example of global warming.

"It is something which concerns me - I'm very worried about it.

"I also think it's important to reiterate that people must be careful about having bonfires and barbecues in dry weather after the awful fire in Wareham Forest recently."