Brits have been warned that they will need to wrap up warm in mid-January with up to 10 inches of snow falling after a possible record high temperature for New Year’s Eve.
Parts of the UK have had a carpet of snow this year with stormy weather in early December but it has been a warm month overall with temperatures in the mid-teens this week, the Met Office said.
But it is too early to think that winter is over as an Arctic blast is set to hit in January bringing freezing temperatures and snow.
Maps from WXCharts show heavy snow is predicted for January 12 with up to 10 inches for the north of England including Newcastle and the North East, while five inches could land in Scotland.
The charts show 3 inches for Manchester while there is also a light covering of 1 inch for Wales and the Midlands.
Similar snowfalls are expected over the following days in mid-January while temperatures will start to drop early in the month with the mercury close to zero for England and as low as -5C in the Scottish Highlands.
Before that though the UK could see the mildest New Year’s Eve on record, with sunshine in some areas.
Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said there was a “good chance” of New Year’s Eve being the mildest ever.
“In the south of the UK the weather should be dry for tomorrow so people should be able to enjoy dry weather with some bright spells around,” she said.
“For New Year’s Day, another band of rain is pushing in from the west so the further east you are the drier your day will be with some bright spells.”
On New Year’s Eve, the UK can expect to see early rain across central, eastern and southern England which will clear eastwards to leave a brighter and drier day.
It is expected to be “exceptionally mild” with temperatures up to 14-15C, and a possible high of 16C, Ms Ayers said.
Across Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England, cloud and outbreaks of rain will linger for much if not all of the day, though it will become patchier. It will be a windy day for many, particularly across north Wales and northern England.
Recent very mild temperatures on New Year’s Eve include in 2018 when Dunrobin Castle Gardens, Sutherland, reached 14.5C and 2011 when Colwyn Bay reached 14.8C.
The Colwyn Bay maximum is the highest in the Met Office’s digitised database which contains data going back to the 1850s.
For New Year’s Eve night, bands of rain will continue to spread north-eastwards, mainly affecting Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England.
It may have been mild but it has also been gloomy with the UK having 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, according to the Met Office.
The figure places this month in the running to become one of the top 10 dreariest Decembers on record, Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said.
Britain’s dullest December ever was in 1956, when 19.5 hours of sunlight was the national average, while the sunniest was in 2001, with 64 hours recorded on average across the UK.
The cause of this “exceptionally” mild and dim December was Atlantic winds, the Met Office said.
Ms Ayers said: “It has been quite mild and cloudy through December and a reason for this is we have been drawing south-westerly winds from the Atlantic bringing with it a lot of moisture which produces a lot of cloud, hence the duller and milder weather.
But climate change could also be playing a role and Mr Snell added: “The globe is warming up so we would expect our winters to be milder than they were.”
UK forecast for the next 5 days
Heavy rain moving northwards and becoming slow-moving across central Scotland, gradually easing. Rain clearing quickly eastwards across England and Wales to leave a blustery but very mild day with sunny spells.
Bands of cloud and rain moving northeastwards across most parts with clear spells in between. Becoming windy in the west with coastal gales, but remaining mild.
A band of rain will move eastwards across most parts. Turning brighter in the west before blustery showers develop later. Windy, with severe gales in the far northwest. Staying mild.
Outlook for Sunday to Tuesday:
Rather windy with sunny spells and showers, or some longer spells of rain. Turning colder from the north from Monday onward with snow showers developing across parts of Scotland.