Britain will enjoy warm temperatures and dry spells over New Year

A mini-heatwave! Britain will enjoy a rise in temperatures and prolonged dry spells over the New Year after torrential rain brought a Boxing Day washout

  • The Met Office had warned that huge deluge of heavy rain was expected to sweep across the UK on Thursday
  • Boxing Day shoppers had to battle the rain as well as fierce winds as they fought to pick up festive bargains 
  • The Environment Agency issued several flood alerts with areas of the UK left submerged by the torrential rain
  • But we are expected to enjoy dry spells and a balmy 59F by New Year’s Eve as a mini-heatwave hits Britain 

So far, December’s weather has brought a storm, floods and gales – but the month is set to come to an end with a mini-heatwave.

Temperatures over the coming days could reach highs of 14C (57F) or even 15 (59F), figures not normally reached until April or even May.

Average temperatures for the time of year in England and Wales are 7-9C (45-48F).

The mild weather will see much of England and Wales experience temperatures warmer than Mediterranean cities.

On Sunday, Athens is only likely to reach 7C (45F), while Rome is set to be 9C (48F). 

A submerged road in Cambridgeshire after heavy rain flooded the A1101 on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border near Welney

Incessant rain has flooded the A1101 road in Welney on the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire border and Anthony Gleave (pictured) was shocked to come across two submerged supercars

Walkers wade along a flooded towpath in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire after a Boxing Day of heavy rainfall across Britain

Despite the rain, the weather is expected to improve over the next few days, with temperatures reaching an unseasonably balmy 59F in the run up to New Year

Flooding from a burst water in Downs Barn and Downhead Park in Milton Keynes, with the Fire and Rescue service at the scene

Photos of the sunken cars were taken by Anthony Gleave who paddled along the flooded road in his kayak and dubbed it ‘Welney Sea’

The warmest places are likely to be sheltered parts of North Wales and North East England, the Meteorological Office said.

Elsewhere, daytime temperatures are set to reach 12-13C (54-55F).

Even more unusually, the very mild spell is occurring thanks to an area of high pressure, which would typically bring cold and frosty weather from the continent.

This time, however, the high pressure is trapping an area of cloud and mild air.

As a result, sunshine is likely to be limited but no significant rain is expected either. 

The breezy but mostly settled conditions follow a weather front which brought rain through Boxing Day and was due to clear this morning FRI.

Emma Smith, Meteorological Office spokeswoman, said: ‘High pressure is building from the south as we head towards the weekend.

‘Some wet and windy weather is still expected for Scotland and Northern Ireland but for many of us it is likely to be cloudy, drier and mild.

‘Temperatures are set to climb into double figures and, by Sunday, we could see temperatures in the mid-teens Celsius in some parts of North Wales or North East England.’ But Miss Smith said the beginning of next week is set to turn chillier as the first high pressure wanes and is replaced by a second one, bringing colder air.  

A field is pictured completely underwater  in Botley, Oxfordshire after the nearby River Thames bursts its banks 

Out of bounds: Youngsters were unable to enjoy their local park in Botley, Oxford today after the nearby River Thames flooded

A dog-walker is pictured guiding his pet pooch down the flooded towpath in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire today 

Emergency services rushed to tackle the flooding in Milton Keynes, with the Environment Agency previously issuing 128 flood alerts for Boxing Day

Photos of the sunken cars were taken by Anthony Gleave who paddled along the flooded road in his kayak and dubbed it ‘Welney Sea’

The submerged cars could be worth more than £10,000 each but are now likely to be written off because the floodwater will have ruined the upholstery and damaged the engines

A field is pictured covered in floodwater in Bawtry, South Yorkshire, after torrential rain and flooding in the area on Boxing Day

This field is pictured completely flooded on Boxing Day after heavy rain in Bawtry, South Yorkshire 

Bathers brave the cold waters of the North Sea as they take part in the annual Boxing Day dip at Redcar Beach 

Bathers brave the cold waters of the North Sea as they take part in the annual Boxing Day dip at Redcar Beach to raise money for a number of charities

The annual Boxing Day event attracts hundreds of people each year who take to the cold water wearing fancy dress 

A dog joins her owner as bathers brave the cold waters of the North Sea as they take part in the annual Boxing Day dip at Redcar Beach 

She said: ‘Some areas could see a chilly start on Monday, with parts of Wales experiencing an overnight frost and temperatures even in southern counties of England falling to 1C (34F) or 2C (36F).’ On Monday, some light rain could edge south into north Wales or North West England but elsewhere it should remain dry.

Tuesday could begin with a foggy start but is set to be mainly fine and dry through the day and into the evening for the New Year’s Eve festivities.

Some cloud with the possibility of patchy rain is expected in southern areas.

In its prediction for the New Year, the Met Office says the first week of January is likely to be settled with fine days but chilly nights and overnight frosts.

‘More changeable’ conditions are likely to return for the middle of the month, with wet and windy spells in the north west and the best chance of dry and sunny weather in the south and east.

The settled spell comes after rainfall figures for December up to Christmas Day showed England and Wales have already had a wetter month than average.

Up to December 25, 98.1mm (3.68ins) fell in England, compared with 87.2mm (3.4ins) on average for the entire month.

In Wales, 174.8mm (6.8ins) fell up to December 25, compared with an average of 165.8mm (6.5ins).

Yesterday, parts of England received almost half an inch of rain. At Petersfield, Hants, 11.6mm (0.45ins) fell in the first 14 hours.

In Northern Ireland, an inch of rain fell in the same period.

Up to £1.3 million of extra funding has been pledged by the government to help communities affected by flooding last month.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said South Yorkshire Disaster Relief Fund, which is assisting vulnerable people in some of the worst-affected areas including Bentley and Fishlake, both in Doncaster, would receive match funding.

The fund has raised £500,000 so far and the government said it would match the total, up to a maximum contribution of £1 million.

A further £300,000 will be offered to other areas where flooding has occurred.

The government has previously offered grants of up to £5,000 made available for flood-hit homes and businesses in eligible areas, plus grants for local councils to help households recover. There will also be council tax and business rate relief for affected homes and businesses. 

Customers queue ahead of the Selfridges’ Boxing Day sale in London, seemingly not bothered by the rain that will be falling throughout the day

The Met Office has warned that a huge deluge of rain is expected to sweep across the UK on Thursday, affecting shoppers such as these in London

Hundreds of people in Liverpool lined up this morning to bag a bargain and in some areas security teams were seen handing out large plastic bags to shoppers 

Shoppers at the Next Boxing Day sale at the Next store on Queen Street in Cardiff, Wales are pictured above earlier this morning

Shoppers in Cardiff queued from the early hours of the morning for the annual sale with Next opening its doors to customers at 6am this morning

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