The UK is set to face bitterly cold conditions as low as 3C (37F) from Tuesday after officially recording its warmest New Year’s Day in history.
Temperatures are set to plummet to around 7C (44.6F) in London and Cardiff and a chilly 3C in Edinburgh as an Arctic chill begins to make its way across the nation.
Forecasters have now issued yellow weather warning for wind and snow for northern Scotland for Tuesday and Wednesday, with gusts of up to 70mph and ‘blizzard conditions’ expected to hit the region.
The chilly forecast comes just a day after Britain officially recorded its warmest New Year’s Day in history as the Met Office confirmed temperatures nudged over 16C (61F) in the capital yesterday.
Waves crash against the harbour wall on a beach in Folkestone, Kent, as parts of the country prepare for strong winds and snow
A group of people take a walk along the Thames path on New Year’s day as the nation prepares for temperatures to plummet
People take their dogs for a walk along the Thames as the country enjoyed mild temperatures this weekend
Water covers the Welney wash area as the water levels of The Old Bedford river and River Delph continue to rise
A woman throws seaweed for her dog on Padstow Beach as the UK enjoys the warmest New Year on record
Today showers will clear away for most areas of the UK, apart from Northern Ireland and western parts of England and Wales, where it will remain wet for most of the night.
A dry and bright start is forecast for many tomorrow but with showers for north-west England, Northern Ireland, Wales and southern Scotland.
The showers will persist for north-west England with sunny intervals expected for the Midlands and parts of Scotland.
However by Tuesday cooler temperatures will kick in, with the odd shower for Northern Ireland and Wales.
Yesterday meteorologists confirmed temperatures officially hit a record-breaking new high of 61F (16.2C) St James’s Park in London on Saturday.
That provisional figure beat the previous high of 15.6C (60F), despite much of the country continuing to endure an ‘exceptionally mild’ start to the New Year.
Friday also saw temperatures peak at nearly 16C (61F) in Merryfield in Somerset and in Nantwich in Cheshire, which beat the previous record of 15C (59F).
The Met Office said two new all-time highs for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day had created the ‘unusual situation of one weather system perhaps breaking weather records for two days in separate calendar years’.
The balmier-than-usual start to the year saw people happily take part in traditional New Year’s Day swims across the country, including at Derby Pool, New Brighton, Wirral and West Sussex.
Speaking before the record was broken, forecaster Craig Snell said: ‘It’s not out of the realms of possibility.
‘It is the first time since December 2016 that we have had three consecutive days reach 15C (59F). It has been a prolonged mild spell.
‘It may break records, but I was much more confident we would see record-breaking temperatures on New Year’s Eve because the record for New Year’s Day is a bit higher. It will still be an exceptionally mild start to 2022.’
Mr Snell added that the average temperature in December and the beginning of January is usually around 7C or 8C, and this year’s warmer temperatures have been due to a south-westerly wind making its way across the country.
He added that the higher temperatures are usually localised, but ‘plenty of places’ have seen highs of 15C over December. However, he said January could see a drop in temperatures.
Somerset House in London yesterday confirmed it would be closing its ice rink on New Year’s Day due to warmer temperatures.
A woman runs past a cherry blossom tree already in bloom in St James’s Park, as the British Meteorological Office recorded the highest UK temperature on New Year’s Day
The sun sets over Blackpool beach on New Year’s Days as the country enjoyed its warmest New Year on record
Temperatures are set to plummet to around 7C (44.6F) in London and Cardiff and a chilly 3C in Edinburgh as an Arctic chill begins to make its way across the nation
Forecasters have issued yellow weather warning for wind and snow for northern Scotland for Tuesday and Wednesday
A spokesperson for Somerset House tweeted: ‘Skate update: Due to the effect of the on-going warm temperatures on the quality of the ice, we have had to make the difficult decision to also close our ice rink on 1 January. All customers are being contacted directly and given a full refund.
‘We are currently dealing with very high level of customer enquiries so it may take us longer than usual to respond. We are very sorry for this inconvenience and are working hard to ensure we can re-open asap. We will update asap if there is any further impact on future dates.’
It came after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan cancelled the city’s traditional firework display because of the threat of Covid-19.
This week Boris Johnson urged people to get tested before meeting up for the New Year’s Eve festivities.
He said: ‘Everybody should enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way – take a test, ventilation, think about others but, above all, get a booster.’
The Prime Minister will decide next week whether to impose new coronavirus restrictions to limit indoor socialising.
Mr Johnson opted not to impose new curbs between Christmas and New Year’s Eve but rising Covid case numbers could see new measures implemented.
It comes as NHS bosses warned that the Government ‘needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed’.
Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, said new curbs ‘may be needed at pace if the evidence warrants it’ as he said health bosses ‘still don’t know’ if there will be a surge in elderly hospitalisations which could trigger Mr Johnson to act.