BOLTON is set to bask in a spring heatwave as experts say temperatures may rocket up to 18C by next week.

The balmy conditions are nearly double the average temperatures for the North West at this time of year.

Conditions have improved over the past week, but temperatures have remained quite low despite longer periods of sunshine.

Some rainy weather could persist until the weekend, but temperatures will be considerably warmer on Saturday and Sunday.

The 9.8C average temperature for March is set to be dwarfed by the high of 18C forecast for next Thursday.

A Met Office spokesman said a good start to March was forecast, with higher than average temperatures for the North West.

Temperatures could reach 16C as early as Monday, with next week set to bring sustained sunny and dry weather.

After a mild night on Wednesday, the showers are expected to return on Thursday and Friday.

The latest live weather information is available here.