‘Danger to life’ fog warning and flood alerts as thousands make Christmas escape

The Met Office has issued a ‘danger to life’ warning for freezing fog and 33 flood alerts are in place across the country as thousands make their Christmas getaway and last-minute shopping trips.

Motorways and roads are expected to be congested – meaning motorists should brace for significant delays – and stores and supermarkets will be packed on Christmas Eve.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for fog for much of England, including northern regions, the Midlands, the east and south-east.

Fog will become more widespread later on Christmas Eve – reducing visibility to just 50m (165ft) in places – and it will be slow to clear on Christmas Day.

There are 32 flood alerts in place in England and one in Wales after days of heavy rain caused streams to swell.

The Met Office said in its fog warning, which is in effect from 3pm on Monday to 11am on Tuesday: "Fog or freezing fog patches will quickly become more widespread later on Christmas Eve, and will also be dense in places.

"Not everywhere will see fog, but where it does form, the visibility may fall to around 50 metres at times.

"Fog will tend to thin and lift in western and some central areas of England overnight, but will be slow to clear on Christmas Day in the east, perhaps persisting for much or all of the day in parts of eastern England."

The Met Office is predicting cloudy and damp conditions in south-western parts of the UK throughout the day on Christmas Eve.

Elsewhere, there will be sunny spells after a cold start, with some fog and misty low cloud lingering throughout the day, especially across Northern Ireland and Scotland’s central belt.

Monday night will bring cloud and patchy drizzle in the west.

It will be frosty in northern Scotland.

Christmas Day will be cloudy and dry for most of the country.

Patchy drizzle is expected in western areas.

Mild temperatures are expected across the country on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, meaning the odds of a white Christmas are extremely slim.

Forecaster Greg Dewhurst said: "(Fog) could be quite dense from this evening and through the night tonight.

"It will be a grey start for most. In the east it will be mostly dry, an odd spot of drizzle is possible in the west."

Temperatures are expected to be average for the time of year, with 5-9C (41-48F) predicted in the east and 11-12C (51-53F) in the west.

Drivers embarking on the Christmas Eve getaway or buying last-minute gifts are being warned to expect severe delays in some areas.

Half of UK motorists will take to main roads or motorways on Monday, according to AA research.

Commuter traffic will be reduced as many people booked the day off work for an extended Christmas break.

But this will be partly offset by increased leisure journeys, with more than one in five (23%) visiting family and friends and a further 16% making a shopping or other day trip.

Analysis by the RAC and traffic information supplier Inrix predicted that roads will be busiest between 11am and 1pm.

The worst road for long delays is expected to be the M1 northbound from Junction 21 (Coventry/Leicester) to Junction 26 (Nottingham/Ripley).

The M25, M5, M6 and M40 have also been identified as "likely to see significant delays" over the festive period.

Later in the week there will be a mixture of misty conditions and sunny spells, with the potential for overnight frost if skies are clear.

Sunday saw a wide range of temperatures across the UK, with 13.9C (56.8F) recorded in Exeter and a low of -2.6C (27.3F) in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.

Met Office five-day forecast

Monday (Christmas Eve)

Cloudy and damp in southwestern parts throughout the day.

Elsewhere, there will be sunny spells after a cold start, but with some fog patches and misty low cloud lingering throughout the day, especially across Northern Ireland and Scotland’s Central Belt.

Monday night

Cloud, patchy drizzle, and coastal fog will persist in the west.

Low cloud and fog patches will develop across England and southern Scotland.

Frosty with clear spells for northern Scotland.

Tuesday (Christmas Day)

Cloudy and generally dry on Christmas Day, although with some bright or sunny spells, mainly in the northeast.

Early fog and low cloud may linger. Patchy drizzle for western parts.

Wednesday (Boxing Day) to Friday

A mixture of misty, murky conditions and some bright and sunny spells through the outlook period, with an occasional overnight frost if skies are clear.

Patchy drizzle in the northwest.

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