Britons may be able to enjoy the nation’s warmest new year’s eve today, as temperatures soar to 17C (63F), following a dull December that saw less than 27 hours sunlight.

The current UK temperature record for December 31 of 14.8C (58.6F), which was set in Colwyn Bay in North Wales in 2011, is expected to be smashed this afternoon – and it could still be as warm as 14C (57F) at midnight tonight.

Met Office stated that the weather conditions were unusually warm for this season and closer to April temperatures. In England and Wales, December’s average daytime temperature was just 7.6C (45.7F).

Parts of Britain are likely to experience warmer temperatures than European vacation destinations such as Nice, Rome (16C/61F), Cyprus – 15C/59F), Madrid (15C/59F), Athens (14C/57F). 

Tomorrow may also see the New Year’s Day record for England of 15.6C (60F), which was set in Cornwall in 1916. In December 1985 England’s record was 17.7C (63.9F), while in 2019 it was 18.7C (65.9F) for all of the UK. 

Warm air is being pulled up by the African coast from Ireland because of an area of low pressure. The daytime temperatures will plummet from Tuesday to 8C (46F in South) and 5C (5F in North) respectively. 

The UK’s recent heat has reached 60.3F (15.7C) on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, grey skies have prevailed and heavy rain has caused rivers to burst. 

Many areas are on flood watch, with 70 flood alerts in the UK, including 17 in Wales, two in Scotland and 51 in England. There was also one flood warning for Walsden in West Yorkshire.

Britain’s most dull December ever was 65 years ago. 19.5 hours was the average amount of sunlight in the country. 2001 was the year with the highest average number of sunniest days, which was 64. So far this month, there have been just 27 hours of sunshine. This is only 38 percent less daylight than the December average. It also marks the lowest number since 1956. 

Rachel Ayers, Met Office meteorologist, said that New Year’s Eve has a “good chance” of being mild.

She explained that in the South of England, the weather is supposed to be dry tomorrow. People should therefore be able enjoy some sunshine and dry weather. 

Time travel back: NYE 1962, the Big Freeze when milk was first brought on to skis 

A milkman skis in Earls Court, London, on December 29, 1962

Skiing in Earls Court London on December 29 1962 by a milkman

Warm temperatures in 2021 will be a marked departure from 1962 when London experienced an ice storm that lasted for several days. Temperatures dropped to -20C and temperatures fell as low as 4F.

Images taken during the coldest winter in Britain in 1740 included one picture of a milkman riding his skis to Earls Court. 

The Big Freeze was caused by a blizzard in Wales on December 29-30 and South West England on December 30th. This snowstorm came after an unusual white Christmas with nearly one foot of snow falling across Southern England. 

The snowy scenes at London Airport on December 30, 1962

London Airport, December 30, 1962: Snowy Scenes

“For New Year’s Day another band of rain will push in from the West so the farther east you go the more dry your day with bright spells.

UK residents can expect rain to fall on New Year’s Eve across the country, including in central and eastern England. However, it will soon clear to the east, leaving behind a brighter, drier day.

The weather is predicted to be “exceptionally mild” with temperatures of up to 14-15C, 57-59F and possible highs of 16C (61F), according to Ms Ayers.

Although it may not be as severe, the cloudy conditions will persist across Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Many will experience windy conditions, especially in northern England and north Wales.

Recently, New Year’s Eve has been markedly milder than usual. For example, Dunrobin Castle Gardens, Sutherland in 2018, reached 14.5C (51F) while Colwyn Bay was at 14.8C (51.28F)

Colwyn Bay’s maximum value is found in the Met Office’s digital database, which includes data back to 1850s.

Marco Petagna is a senior meteorologist at Met Office. He tweeted today, “As We Enter the Final Day of 2021 It’s Set to Be a Record breaker.” New Year’s Eve temperature records for Britain are 14.8C Colwyn Bay 2011 With highs up to 16C, possibly pushing 17C today, we are set to surpass that! 

Bands of rain will continue their spread to the north-east for New Year’s Eve, most notably in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Northern England.

The unseasonably warm weather yesterday was sufficient to lure day-trippers from as far as Tynemouth where kids built sandcastles at the beach to Cambridge where they enjoyed traditional summer fun of punting on Cam.

Bournemouth saw surfers make the most of the waves while London’s unicycle-riding jugglers performed in Covent Garden. 

The temperatures in each location were both 14C (57F)

Due to the lack of breeze in recent days, today’s record-breaking temperature could be attained by the capital.

Greg Dewhurst, Met Office meteorologist said that temperatures across the nation will be above the average for the time of the year. 

Today's weather

Tomorrow's weather

Today’s and tomorrow’s temperatures in Britain (left) will be similar to the ones experienced in April.

Flood alerts for England

Flood alerts for Wales

There were 51 flood alerts (in orange, left) imposed by the Environment Agency for England today, plus a flood warning (in red, left) for the West Yorkshire village of Walsden, as well as  17 flood alerts from Natural Resources Wales (in orange, right)

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency imposed two flood alerts (in amber) for parts of southern Scotland today

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency imposed two flood alerts (in amber) for parts of southern Scotland today

Joshua, six, and Anna Spedding, four, enjoy the unseasonably warm temperatures at Tynemouth in North Tyneside yesterday

Joshua (six years) and Anna Spedding (four years), enjoy unseasonably high temperatures in Tynemouth on North Tyneside.

“We expect high temperatures to reach 12-14C (53-57F), with the possibility of 15C at a couple spots. It’s likely that it’ll be much higher than average.”

Britain suffered its worst December yet 

Forecasters predict that Britain could have experienced one of its most miserable Decembers.

The UK has seen less than 27 hours of sunshine across the past 30 days – 38 per cent less than the national average for this time of year, the Met Office said. According to the Met Office, this figure makes December one of the driest on record. 

The UK’s darkest December was 1956 when there was 19.5 hours of sunshine. 2001 was the year with the highest average sun exposure, 64 hours. According to the Met Office, there has been 26.6 hours of sunlight in the UK so far this month. This is 14.3 hours more than was expected.

“If the current situation doesn’t improve, it could be among the 10 most dullest Decembers in the UK,” Snell said. Snell, a Met Office forecaster said that there are only two days left. Snell explained that the lackluster weather is due to warmer winter temperatures, likely caused by global warming.

“One reason we are getting dull weather is because it has been so mild. The Atlantic is bringing south-westerly breeze and moisture into the area. He said that it keeps us warm, but also creates a lot cloud.

Forecaster said that the world was warming, so it would be reasonable to expect winters to become milder. Although we have more mild spells than usual throughout the year, we cannot link climate change to every one of them. However we can predict that we will see extremes in weather as we move through the century. 

The persistently dry weather is also due to mild temperatures. This month has seen the least amount of sunshine in 100 years.

Craig Snell from the Met Office stated that the mild weather has contributed to the lackluster forecast. The Atlantic is bringing in south-westerly winds and a lot more moisture.

“It not only keeps us warm but also makes a lot more cloud. As the world is heating up, we can expect milder winters.

“We have always had milder spells throughout a year. We can’t connect every mild spell with climate change. But we can predict that extremes will increase as this century progresses.

Snell commented on the weather forecast for Scotland for tonight. He said: “It will probably be insanely hot for this time of the year.”

‘I know there are restrictions on social gatherings in Scotland but anyone who does leave the house after midnight will encounter temperatures more akin to springtime – and during the day at that.’

In Scotland, areas such as Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Inverness could get a little rain as the country moves towards 2022. However, the South East of the country will be dry.

New Year’s Day is expected to see improvements, with the majority of people feeling some sunshine at some time during the day.

The temperature will drop on Sunday with temperatures of 10C (50F), but it will fall to the single digits by Monday.

Bob Ward is the policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. He works for the London School of Economics.

Climate change will make December less cold. This is going to cause havoc on plants and animals.

It is heating up so fast that some species will not disappear in winter. The higher temperatures will confuse animals that hibernate during winter.