Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grey skies see 2010 end with a whimper: Drizzle expected until January with freezing weather returning in New Year



A gloomy New Year: The Royal Albert bridge over the Tamar in Plymouth appears through the fog this morning

Showers expected across Britain through the week

Temperatures to drop below average as 2011 begins

December set to be coldest ever - a degree colder than previous record

The worst of the winter weather has passed but Britain can expect a cold and damp start to 2011, the Met Office has warned.

The weather is no longer being influenced by freezing Arctic patterns and air is now moving into Britain from the Atlantic but the mercury will fall again in the first days of January.

Some areas paralysed by heavy snow before Christmas are likely to be basking in relatively balmy temperatures of up to 12c (54f) today.

Covered capital: Boats pass under Waterloo bridge during a foggy day in London

But after mild conditions over the next few days, the weather will turn colder again next week, with temperatures expected to be below the 3.4C (38F) average.

Forecasters have also warned there will be fog in many areas of the country because of moisture in the air and there are fears that these ‘quick melt’ conditions, combined with heavy rain, could lead to flooding in parts of Devon.

Misty misery: Thick fog descends on Bournemouth seafront today, as walkers disappear from view on Boscombe pier

But the Environment Agency believes the risk of flooding in most areas is ‘very low’.

Unless there is an unexpected change, New Year celebrations should go ahead smoothly, without the transport nightmares that brought much of the country to a standstill in recent weeks.

Eye of the storm: A pigeon sits on a wall near the partially shrouded by fog London Eye

Most areas will remain above freezing on Friday night, forecasters are predicting.

In the North-East, which has been particularly hard hit by the Arctic conditions for the past month, temperatures will stay below average, but the ice is still expected to gradually melt away.

For the second winter running, a severe month-long big freeze has cost the economy billions and this December is expected to be the chilliest since records began 100 years ago.

So far December 2010 has been ‘over a degree colder’ than the previous record, set in 1981.

Forecaster Barry Gromett said: 'The national record goes back to 1910 and it's running by some margin the coldest December at the moment.'

He added that we were 'over a degree colder' than the previous record.

Foggy London town: The capital's most famous landmarks are almost obscured by the gloomy weather

Grim commute: London workers cross the Millennium bridge while St Paul's Cathedral rises through the fog

Sailing through the fog: A tourist boat ploughs through the grim conditions on the Thames

Rosie, a 10-year-old German Shepherd, had skidded into icy Connaught Water in Chingford, East London, and clung on to the ice as rescuers edged their way towards her

Meanwhile, airport operator BAA said it welcomed legislation that would 'improve the experience for passengers' as the Government considers new plans to fine airports millions of pounds.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he wanted the air regulators to have new powers after Heathrow ground to a halt during the big freeze last week, ruining the holidays of tens of thousands of people.

A spokesman for BAA said: 'We will of course play a full part in the Government's discussions about this year's weather disruption and will make public the findings of our own independent investigation.

'We welcome legislation designed to improve the experience for passengers at the UK's airports.'

London Eye - December Snow 2010

source: dailymail [endtext]