End of the year is due to be hottest on record as temperatures soar

Phew Year’s Eve! End of the year is due to be hottest on record as temperatures soar towards highest-ever 59F after White Christmas

  • Today will see dry weather in northern Britain, but the midlands and south are facing ‘very wet’ conditions
  • Temperatures will stay ‘exceptionally mild’ this week but are set to reach a comfortable 59F (15C) on Friday 
  • Met Office predicts 15C in the south, falling to around 13C in the midlands and 10C in the north of Scotland 
  • It comes after Boxing Day saw up to four inches of snow falling on high ground in the early hours 

New Year’s Eve is due to be the warmest on record, forecasters say – after parts of Britain saw snow across the Christmas weekend. 

Today will see ‘plenty of dry weather’ in northern parts of Britain, but the midlands and south are facing ‘very wet’ conditions after a ‘rather cloudy start’, the Met Office said.  

They warned of a ‘murky and foggy’ start to the day in England, advising motorists to use their fog lights, not their full beam lights, and to de-mist their windscreens as drivers make long journeys across the country after visiting their families for the holidays. 

After a cool start to the week today, temperatures will stay ‘exceptionally mild’ this week but are set to reach a comfortable 59F (15C) on Friday in parts of England – meaning the country will enjoy similar conditions to those in southern European hotspots like Madrid and Athens. 

It would also mean the 2011 record of 58F (14.8C) in Colwyn Bay, north Wales would be smashed, making this New Year’s Eve the hottest on record. 

A Met Office graphic displayed predictions of 15C in the south, falling to around 13C in the midlands and 10C in the north of Scotland for the last day of 2021. Forecasters said: ‘New Year’s Eve should be drier and a little brighter [than the rest of the week]. Still very mild for many.’

It comes after a chilly Boxing Day which saw up to four inches of snow falling on high ground in the early hours with heavy flurries across southern Scotland, Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire and the Peak District. 

The Met Office had declared an official White Christmas after two measuring stations in Scotland recorded snowfall on Christmas Day. 

A snow-covered field in Guiseley, West Yorkshire on Boxing Day. The Met Office had declared an official White Christmas after two measuring stations in Scotland recorded snowfall on Christmas Day

New Year’s Eve could see temperatures reach 15C in southern England, with cooler weather across the north


There will be further heavy rain for southern and central areas of Britain today, while further north it will be much drier than Boxing Day with chance of some sunshine

COUNTY DURHAM: A woman rides a horse near Castleside in County Durham yesterday, in picture-perfect snow-coated scenery

COUNTY DURHAM: Eva Simpson, 6, has fun sledging on a snow covered pathway in Dipton as parts of the country woke up to snow coating the ground

Sheep roaming around in a snow covered field in Guiseley, West Yorkshire. Parts of the country were transformed in a blanket of white overnight

Icy dip: Women in Santa hats in Ayr, south-west Scotland where swimmers take part in a charity Boxing Day swim in the frosty waters

Tomorrow will be breezy, with gusts of up to 40mph blowing rain showers away, and parts of the South will enjoy temperatures of 13C (55F). It will continue to get warmer towards the end of the week

One woman was spotted riding a horse in snow-blanketed woods in County Durham.

But the blizzards disrupted major roads in the North, including the M62 and A66, which had to be temporarily closed in the morning due to icy conditions.

Some drivers struggled to get going at all after their cars were left covered in thick snow.

However, the nippy weather was no match for daring swimmers at Perranporth Beach in Cornwall, and at Ayr, south-west Scotland.

Some wore jolly Santa hats and tinsel as they braved the icy sea.

By yesterday afternoon, much of the snow was thawing, the Met Office said, and milder air from the Atlantic ensured better temperatures than average for this time of year.

The front also brought rain, and heavy downpours in London caused some localised flooding to roads, including the A3 in New Malden.

Swimmers, some dressed up in Christmas gear, walk in the frosty waters as they take part in a charity Boxing Day swim at Ayr beach in Scotland

Two swimmers dressed up as a panda and a lobster splash in the cold waters of the North Sea as they take part in the annual Boxing Day dip at Redcar Beach

Two swimmers pose and wave as they brave the chilly North Sea at Seaburn, in South Tyneside as they go for a traditional Boxing Day dip

Early risers enjoy a traditional Boxing Day dip as they wade around in the freezing North Sea waters at Seaburn, South Tyneside

A group of excited swimmers dip into the North Sea at Seaburn, South Tyneside as they kick off Boxing Day with a splash 

 Friends in colourful swim suits, some wearing hats, pose as they brave the frosty waters and go for a Boxing Day dip in Perranporth, Cornwall 

COUNTY DURHAM: A woman in a blue coated walks her dog in Castleside, coated in white, as parts of the UK woke up to fresh snow

COUNTY DURHAM: A woman rides a horse through the snowy path near Castleside. Up to four inches of snow fell on high ground in the early hours as parts of the country were transformed into a frosty wonderland

COUNTY DURHAM: A young rider makes their way through the snowy scenery near Castleside. Heavy flurries visited southern Scotland, Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire and the Peak District, allowing families to enjoy a spot of sledging

COUNTY DURHAM: A man clearing the snow off his car near Castleside. Scotland will see the best of the weather today, with the rest of England and Wales staying wet as more rain heads north-east from Devon and Cornwall

COUNTY DURHAM: A man clears snow from the drive of his home in Tow Law. By yesterday afternoon, much of the snow was thawing, the Met Office said, and milder air from the Atlantic ensured better temperatures than average for this time of year

Scotland will see the best of the weather today, with the rest of England and Wales staying wet as more rain heads north-east from Devon and Cornwall.

Temperatures, however, are set to remain several degrees above the 8C (46F) average for the end of December.

Tomorrow will be breezy, with gusts of up to 40mph blowing rain showers away, and parts of the South will enjoy temperatures of 13C (55F). It will continue to get warmer towards the end of the week.

Sarah Kent, a forecaster at the Met Office, said: ‘It will feel quite mild for the time of year, especially in the South and West.’

NATIONAL TRUST: CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS STORMS, RAINFALL AND WILDFIRES ARE THE ‘NORMAL’ IN UK

Wildlife was hit by storms, rainfall and wildfires in parts of the UK in 2021, in what is the ‘new normal’ due to climate change, the National Trust said.

The past year has been punctuated by extreme events and sometimes unseasonal conditions, from dry spring weather that prompted fires to Storm Arwen which brought down thousands of trees across the UK.

The National Trust’s annual review of wildlife and weather for the year highlights how climate change is affecting landscapes and nature – with winners and losers this year.

It was a good year for many orchids, but butterflies had a bad summer and it was a bad nesting season for birds at some of the sites the National Trust cares for across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The dry March and an April that was the fourth driest since 1862 saw wildfires at two significant landscapes cared for by the National Trust: the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland and Marsden Moor in Yorkshire.

The fire in the Mourne Mountains devastated 200 hectares (500 acres) of land, and the Yorkshire blaze ripped through 520 hectares (nearly 1,300 acres) of moorland, destroying a diverse range of plants and affecting threatened birds in both sites.

On the Dorset coast, a 300-metre cliff fall in April, the largest on the stretch of coastline for 60 years, was caused by prolonged periods of dry weather, rain and erosion by the sea, the National Trust said.

The charity’s annual review highlights the damage from Storm Arwen, which last month destroyed thousands of irreplaceable trees 

Wildlife winners of 2021 include beavers released on the Holnicote Estate in Exmoor, West Somerset (pictured) whose first kit was born in June

Record numbers of grey seals, pictured, are expected, thanks to plentiful fish and crabs for them to eat

And the late autumn, with a good show of colour, was brought to a sharp end in November with Storm Arwen, which uprooted hundreds of trees at Bodnant Gardens, Wales, and at other sites such as Wallington in Northumberland.

Ben McCarthy, head of nature conservation and restoration ecology at the National Trust, said: ‘Climate change is making some forms of extreme weather events the new normal.

‘Heatwaves and heavy rainfall are becoming more frequent and more intense.

‘What we’re seeing in the UK with the impacts of wildfires and severe storms such as Arwen and Barra, is how climate change is altering our landscapes forever. ‘

He warned the extreme events were putting even more pressure on the UK’s wildlife, which is already in trouble with more than half of species in decline and 15% under threat of extinction.

‘Our nature is part of what makes the UK unique and we must all play our part to protect it, ‘ he urged, saying conserving nature and improving habitats could support larger populations that were better able to respond to climate change.

Orchids were among wildlife winners in 2021, with good displays of pyramidal orchids on Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire in June, bee orchids on the Golden Cap estate in Dorset, and autumn lady’s tresses at some grasslands and sand dunes in southern England and Wales.

But butterflies struggled, with 60% of species recorded in lower numbers than in 2020, according to conservation charity Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count.

National Trust noticed butterflies emerging later in the very cool spring and lower numbers at sites such as in the New Forest, while the reintroduced large blue butterfly also saw numbers down in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

But purple emperors were seen at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, for the first time, and at Sheringham Park, Norfolk, which they appeared to colonise in 2017, while the critically endangered spider Zora silvestris was discovered at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

A chilly April and rain and gales in May hit the nesting attempts of birds from barn owls at Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland, to lapwings at Blakeney Freshes in Norfolk.

And it was a mixed year for terns, with different species of the seabirds faring well or badly at various sites depending on their local circumstances.

Arctic terns saw numbers increase at Long Nanny in Northumberland with the reestablishment of 24-hour patrols to ward off predators but little terns were flooded out, and Sandwich and common terns did well at Blakeney Point due to a lack of disturbance and plentiful food.

Late frosts in April and into late May hit apple blossom and the harvest particularly in northern parts of England and Northern Ireland, but a warm, damp autumn with few frosts proved to be a bumper year for grassland fungi such as waxcaps.

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