After weeks of frigid winter conditions, residents of the United Kingdom should soon be basking in unseasonably warm weather.
The mild spell, which will likely start on New Year’s Eve when a tropical plume blows in from the Atlantic, the Daily Mail newspaper predicts, be the warmest for the time of year since 1841.
Meteorologists say the coming days could see 16 C reached, which will make the UK warmer than Corfu in Greece.
The Independent newspaper says the warm weather will continue well into January, with The Met Office, the nation’s official weather forecaster, expecting the best of it to be found in Wales.
The unusually warm temperatures will be around 9 C higher than is usual for the time of year, Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge added.
“North Wales and Northeast Scotland will see the mildest temperatures in the coming days, but even London’s 11C will be 3 C above average.”
In contrast, Athens in Greece will see 9 C while Rome will reach 11 C.
But, as is so often the case with the UK’s turbulent weather, parts of the UK will first have to endure more of the torrential rain that has hammered the country for weeks and which has caused widespread flooding.
The Met Office predicts at least 30 locations in the south could be hit by flooding before the warm weather settles in, and the Environment Agency has issued 67 severe weather warnings in connection with the heavy rain. Counties set to be hit by flooding include Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, and Wiltshire, and the government’s flood information service says heavy rain could disrupt travel and cause property damage.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “The reason for the settled weather (is) high pressure over Europe－that’s dominating our picture. For most it’s going to stay dry but cloudy and rather mild… but toward northwestern parts of the UK there will be a series of fronts coming through, bringing wet and windy weather with them.”
Similarly mild weather meant Moscow in Russia saw its warmest Christmas Eve on record, with the mercury hitting 6 C. The Russian capital has experienced its warmest December since 1886 and Roman Vilfand, the head of Russia’s weather forecasting agency, recently said 2019 was Russia’s warmest year on record.
The unusually mild weather in Europe comes as scientists announced ice sheets in the Antarctic have melted far faster than predicted and a warm patch of water has been identified off New Zealand.