UK weather forecast – Met Office plans for HOTTEST EVER New Year's Eve as Brits bask in unseasonably warm weather

BRITAIN will welcome in 2022 after the warmest New Year's Eve on record, forecasters say – but snow will set in soon after as an Arctic blast sweeps the nation.

Temperatures are set to be "exceptionally mild" this week before hitting a balmy 15C on Friday – warmer than April, when the mercury hovers at an average of 14C.

Almost 50 flood warnings have been issued across Britain as river banks burst after heavy downpours ahead of a balmy New Year's Eve.

Amazingly, the weather will be as good on the south coast and in the south-east as it is in Athens, Madrid and Rhodes.

And if predictions are correct, it'll be hotter in those areas than the record-breaking 14.8C recorded in Colwyn Bay, north Wales, in 2011.

Read our weather live blog for the latest news and forecasts

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    “Worst cold ever”

    The so-called “worst cold ever” appeared to begin spreading at the end of summer.

    Experts said an immunity debt, owing to months in lockdown, meant common colds felt particularly bad.

    The NHS lists says a common cold can cause:

    • A blocked or runny nose
    • A sore throat
    • Headaches
    • Muscle aches
    • Coughs
    • Sneezing
    • A raised temperature
    • Pressure in your ears and face
    • Loss of taste and smell

    The difference between a cold and the flu is that a cold does not typically cause such a sudden spike in temperature.

    There may be more blockage in the sinuses and a feeling of stuffiness, as opposed to flu which is more like a total body fatigue.

    How to tell if your symptoms are Omicron or flu?

    As coronavirus cases continue to spread, with the Omicron variant now standing its ground, it's likely you're on high alert for the slightest cough or sniffle.

    A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

    Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

    Regardless of your symptoms, it may be best to get a Covid test just to check and Health Secretary Sajid Javid has urged Brits to take a lateral flow test before going out and meeting with friends.

    If it is positive, there are strict self-isolation rules. But if it is negative, experts say if you are unwell, it’s best to stay away from people to prevent spreading bugs, anyway. 

    Wintry showers for January

    Weather graphics from WX Charts reveal snow could head south from January 10.

    There are also wintry showers currently predicted in West Wales, the North West, and London.

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      Double figured temperatures over the weekend

      Temperatures are expected to stay in double figures over the coming weekend, so your New Years celebrations could be a good one.

      The warm south-westerly winds from the Azores have arrived in the UK, replacing the cooler northerly winds which are typical for this time of year.

      However, after this warm balmy weekend, the mercury will soon drop and more snow will be on the way.

      Met Office forecaster Craig Snell has warned: "We are keeping a close eye on the New Year's Eve weather, because that record (14.8C) is quite under threat.

      "But it looks like the transition (to cooler weather) will be on Bank Holiday morning."

      The Met Office states wintry showers are expected across Scotland from Monday, January 3 but adds: "Later Monday it is expected to become colder with an increased likelihood of wintry showers at lower levels."

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      How to stay warm when outside

      If you're planning to be out for New Year's tomorrow, you'll want to wrap up warm as you will have a long night ahead of you.

      Here are some good tips for staying warm:

      1. Prewarm your clothes.
      2. Invest in some quality thermals.
      3. Fleece leggings.
      4. Hand warmers.
      5. Cover every inch of skin.
      6. Eat fatty foods.
      7. Thermal flask.
      8. Keep moving.
      9. Keep hydrated.
      10. Keep your head covered.
      11. Tactical scarf-wearing – including keeping your nose and mouth covered
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      UK weather outlook for Saturday and Sunday

      It will be a brighter day on Saturday with spells of sunshine and variable mounts of cloud cover.

      There will be showers in the north and west.

      A cloudy start on Sunday with outbreaks of rain clearing to reveal spells of sunshine, patchy cloud cover and a chance of showers, mostly in the west.

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      Tomorrow's weather

      It will be a dull and damp day with cloudy skies and outbreaks of rain which will track northwards and eastwards during the morning.

      Rain will be heavy at times before easing and turning increasingly light during the afternoon.

      Cloud will break and some spells of sunshine will develop too.

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      Tonight's weather

      Rain across Wales, south-west England and the Midlands will continue to spread northwards overnight across northern England, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.

      Rain will be locally heavy and persistent at times with a threat of showers and thunderstorms.

      It will be mostly dry in the south-east.

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      Bookies on the hottest New Year's Eve on record

      Bookies make it odds on at 4-5 that it'll be scorching for this time of year, with Coral's John Hill telling punters: "The betting suggests we are set for the hottest New Year's Eve on record in the UK."

      The freak spell comes courtesy of a 'tropical plume' from North Africa – with one meteorologist joking: "It's time for people to put on t-shirts and flip-flops".

      But Jim Dale of British Weather Services added: “This will last for about five days, after which we expect to pay for it with the cold to return."

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      Temperatures as low as 2C

      Temperatures are set to be "exceptionally mild" this week before hitting a balmy 15C on Friday – warmer than April, when the mercury hovers at an average of 14C.

      But after that, the mercury will plunge as a far more seasonable weather front takes the country in its grip.

      And by January 4, even those living as far south as Hampshire could see temperatures as low as 2C.

      Forecasters have warned of a "topsy-turvy" week as the mercury rockets up and down.

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      New Year forecast for London

      Some rain on Friday morning, but drier weather later in the day.

      Bright and breezy throughout the weekend with heavy, blustery showers possible, particularly on Sunday.

      Feeling very mild.

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      Weather for today

      Early patches of mist will be slow to lift and clear during the morning.

      It will then be mostly dull during the day with thick cloud cover and outbreaks of rain across Wales and south-west England will spread northwards during the day, and will be locally heavy across western areas of Britain.

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      Weather for 11th to 25th of January

      There is the potential for a short-lived settled spell to start this period, which would mean cooler and drier weather but also an increased risk of overnight fog and frost.

      Later in the month, milder but more unsettled weather is expected to return, with the associated hazards of strong winds and heavy rain.

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      UK weather outlook for Friday and Saturday

      Early outbreaks of rain on Friday will soon ease and clear.

      It will then be a drier day but with large areas of cloud cover although some bright spells will develop too.

      Saturday will be mostly dry with sunny spells and variable amounts of cloud cover. Outbreaks of rain across northern areas.

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      FIFTY flood warnings issued across Britain

      Almost 50 flood warnings have been issued across Britain as river banks burst after heavy downpours ahead of a balmy New Year's Eve.

      Although Brits can expect warmer temperatures, the Met Office has issued dozens of flood warnings for England – largely concentrated in the Midlands, South West and South East. 

      It means flooding is "possible" in 44 areas across the UK and Brits should be ready for the aftermath of heavy downpours.

      The Met Office said the rain would continue to fall all week.

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      Big freeze and SNOW to hit soon

      Brits will face snow during a bone-chilling -11C big freeze – days after the warmest New Year's Eve on record.

      By January 4, even those living as far south as the Isle of Wight could see temperatures as low as -7C.

      Forecasters have warned of a "topsy-turvy" week as the mercury rockets up and down, meaning there could be another 25 days of snow to come this winter.

      Leon Brown, head of meteorological operations at The Weather Company’s Weather Channel arm, said: “Northern England and Scotland are forecast 20 to 25 more days with snow and ice disruption this winter, with 10 to 15 more days with impacts in the south.

      “Later in January has potential for cold conditions, with a longer cold spell possible in February, and -12C is likely."

    • Milica Cosic

      North African tropical plume set to sweep Britain

      A balmy plume from North Africa will sweep Britain from tomorrow meaning the mercury could reach 15C on the last day of 2021.

      Amazingly, the weather will be as good on the south coast and in the south-east as it is in Athens, Madrid and Rhodes.

      And if predictions are correct, it’ll be hotter in those areas than the record-breaking 14.8C recorded in Colwyn Bay, north Wales, in 2011.

      The 15.6C record for New Year’s Eve logged in Great Yarmouth, in 1901, could also tumble.

      Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “The record for both days could go.

      “It’s time for people to put on t-shirts and flip-flops and get the picnic tables out.

      “This will last for about five days, after which we expect to pay for it with the cold to return.

      “This is by no means the end of winter.”

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      Temperatures above average for this time of year

      Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said: “The record is 14.8C on New Year’s Eve and that was in 2011, temperatures look like they’ll be 14C to 15C (57.2F-59F) so it is possible that temperatures could be that value,” he said.

      Dewhurst said the weather throughout the week will be “on the mild side”.

      “We’re going to see across the whole of the country, through the rest of this week, temperatures that are above average for this time of year,” Dewhurst said.

      “The average temperature in the UK around this time of year should be around 7C-8C (44.6F-46.4F).

      “Going forward, we’re looking at highs of around 12C-14C (53.6-57.2F), possibly locally 15C in one or two spots, so it’s going to be well above average.”

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      You could be fined £50 for not using dipped headlights

      According to the Highway Code, motorists are required to use dipped headlights whenever visibility is seriously reduced.

      Reduced visibility is generally considered when you are unable to see for more than 100 metres (328 feet) ahead of you.

      Failing to use the appropriate dipped lights when visibility is reduced could land you a £50 on-the-spot fine if stopped by police.

      Drivers should also be careful when using their front or rear fog lights as they can have a dangerous impact on other motorists.

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      Odds slashed on coldest January

      Leading bookmaker Coral has cut the odds on this January being the coldest since records began to just 2-1 (from 5-1) as forecasters warn of an end to the mild winter temperatures.

      “We have enjoyed some very mild temperatures through December but the outlook for January looks a lot colder and we have slashed the odds on next month being the coldest first month of the year we have ever had,” said Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead.

      Coral make Edinburgh the favourite for snow on Christmas Day, at odds of 3-1, with Newcastle the most likely of the English cities at 7-2 according to the odds.

      Harry also said: “We are offering odds on all major UK cities for any punters dreaming of a White Christmas, with Edinburgh the most likely according to our odds”.

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      Explained: Claiming compensation if gas or electricity is cut off because of snow

      Households who have power cut off due to the snow could be due compensation from firms.

      How much you can claim depends on how long the disruption lasts – and how severe the weather is.

      According to Citizens Advice, if a power cut is caused by bad weather, you’ll be entitled to £70 compensation if you’re without power for 24 hours, with another £70 paid for each of the following 12 hours up to a maximum cap of £700.

      In really bad weather,  the time-limit is 48 hours before compensation kicks-in  – a severe storm is defined by regulator Ofgem as causing more than 12 times the average daily number of faults.

      Energy expert and ex-British Gas worker Lynsey Jones shares her tips for savings on bills.

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      Explained: When will Winter be over?

      When people are looking for the Winter season to be officially over, they can look forward to the Spring Equinox, which will mark the start of the Spring season.

      The Summer Solstice will then signify that the Spring time has come to an end and hot and sunny Summer weather will be present until the next seasonal change.

      Remembering the seasonal equinoxes and solstices are the key to knowing which time of year you are in.

      Although a lot of territories experience differing weather conditions prior to the solstices and equinoxes, the dates are significant to know the official starts of the four seasons.

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      Clean your windows and lights before driving in the snow

      Every glass panel used to see from and even your head and tail lights need to be scrubbed of ice and condensation to ensure you are within the law.

      The RAC says: “The Highway Code stipulates that if driving in adverse weather conditions you must, by law, be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle.

      “This is supported by the section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988, meaning it is a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead before you set off.

      “Failure to do so could incur a fine, but more importantly could place your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives of those around you in danger.

      “This also means ensuring your windscreen is de-iced on the outside and thoroughly demisted on the inside.”

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      ALWAYS check your battery before heading off

      With harsh weather conditions and snow in many parts of the country, this may be hard on your battery and the electrical system. 

      On a cold day, the engine in a car takes more effort to “turn over”, which puts extra strain on the battery and the starter motor. 

      What’s more, cold weather significantly affects how much electricity your battery can send out to the starter motor in the first place. 

      If you’ve noticed your car sounding reluctant to start in summer and autumn, consider buying a new battery now – before the car refuses to turn over on a frosty morning when you’re late for work. 

      You can buy a car battery and fit it at home, but most stockists will fit it for you. They might also check the “health” of your existing battery and tell you if it needs to be replaced. 

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      'DON'T drive in the rain like you would in the dry'

      Rodney Kumar, spokesman for IAM RoadSmart, said: "Your car will take a lot longer to come to a stop in an emergency, so don’t drive the same way you would in the dry.

      "Keep your speed down – many crashes in rain could be avoided if people didn’t drive at the speed as they might do in clear conditions.

      "Use your headlights and get those tyres checked – they are your car’s only contact with the road, and grip is especially critical in the wet.

      “A general rule of thumb for flooding is if the water is six inches or more deep (that’s half the length of a school ruler), then you should not drive through it.

      "And finally, keep an eye out for pedestrians rushing to get to school or work – you might hate the rain, but they do even more.”

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