In the freak midwinter: Britain is bidding a balmy farewell to 2021… and today could set a New Year’s Eve record of 15C
- Temperatures later today could hit a record of 15c, more than double the average for this time of year
- Yesterday, children in Tynemouth enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather building sandcastles on the beach
- Record temperatures are expected in the capital later today during the final hours of 2021 come to an end
These were the unexpected scenes across Britain yesterday as the country prepared to give a particularly warm welcome to 2022.
Temperatures this New Year’s Eve could hit a record 15C (59F) – compared with the average of 7-8C (44-46F).
And yesterday’s unseasonably toasty weather was enough to tempt out day trippers as far afield as Tynemouth, where children built sandcastles on the beach, to Cambridge, where families enjoyed the traditional summer pastime of punting on the Cam.
Joshua, 6, and Anna, 4, Spedding enjoyed the unseasonable temperatures on Tynemouth beach in North Tyneside
On the River Cam, in Cambridge, people took to the water in punts as a result of the rather clement weather situation
Britain will bathe in warmer than normal weather during the next couple of days although rain is expected on Sunday across much of the south and Wales
In Bournemouth surfers made the most of the waves, while in London jugglers in their shirtsleeves performed on unicycles in Covent Garden. Temperatures in both places were 14C (57F).
The capital could also be the setting for today’s expected record temperature, thanks to sunny spells in the afternoon and less breeze than in previous days.
It’s a far cry from the icy days of 1962, when London and the rest of the country experienced a Big Freeze going into 1963, with temperatures going as low as minus 20C. Pictures taken during what was the coldest winter in Britain since 1740 even showed one enterprising milkman doing his round in Earls Court on skis.
Today’s expected warmer weather will follow one of the dullest months on record, which saw the UK receive less than 27 hours of sunshine – 38 per cent less than the December national average and the lowest December sunlight total since 1956.
The current temperature record for New Year’s Eve was 14.8C (58.6F), which was measured in Colwyn Bay in north Wales ten years ago.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said: ‘We’re going to see across the whole of the country temperatures that are above average for this time of year.
Photographers were up early in the morning to capture the sunrise over Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland
In Bristol, a couple took an opportunity to spend some time together overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge
‘We’re looking at highs of around 12-14C (53-57F), possibly locally 15C in one or two spots, so it’s going to be well above average.’
The mild temperatures have also contributed to the persistent dull weather, however.
Forecaster Craig Snell of the Met Office said: ‘One of the reasons we’re getting the dull weather is the fact that it’s been so mild. We’re drawing in south-westerly wind from the Atlantic and it’s also drawing in a lot of moisture.’
During the Big Freeze, a blizzard on December 29 and 30 across Wales and south-west England caused snowdrifts nearly 20ft deep, following a white Christmas where nearly a foot of snow fell across southern England.
In Alderly Edge in Cheshire, roads were flooded following a downpour which caused some inconvenience for motorists
Dozens of people walked along the beach in Tynemouth, North Tyneside enjoying the weather in the final hours of 2021
Forecaster Craig Snell of the Met Office said: ‘One of the reasons we’re getting the dull weather is the fact that it’s been so mild. We’re drawing in south-westerly wind from the Atlantic and it’s also drawing in a lot of moisture’