UK weather: New Year's Eve brings bitterly cold showers

31 December 2020, 08:17 | Updated: 31 December 2020, 08:54

Bitterly cold showers are coming
Bitterly cold showers are coming. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The final day of 2020 is bringing bitterly cold showers and frost for many across the UK, forecasters have warned.

Temperatures could plunge below -5C in the glens of Scotland overnight, with rain, sleet and snow flurries making their way south throughout Thursday, the Met Office said.

A snow and ice weather warning remains in force for much of northern England as well as large parts of Scotland until 2pm on Thursday, while a separate snow and ice warning for northern Scotland and Northern Ireland expires at 11am.

An ice warning covering the southern tip of England remains in force until 11am, with the possibility of rapidly freezing surfaces after downpours.

Read more: Millions more plunged into Tier 4 as hospitals see surge of Covid-19 patients

Met Office forecaster Clare Nasir said: "It's going to be a bitterly cold night as temperatures plummet.

"It does lead into a very cold start to the last day of the year tomorrow, New Year's Eve will bear with it again the risk of rain, sleet and snow, another feature sliding down the country from northern Scotland.

Read more: Public warned to stay at home on New Year's Eve as Covid cases reach all-time high

"Particularly inland and over the hills we will see some snow.

"Many of us will see some brighter weather, with still a keen breeze keeping things very cold indeed, and again the risk of ice as we head into New Year's Day, with again a wintry mix coming and going, and a fairly widespread frost."

Temperatures across the country are forecast to be between 2C and 6C during the day.

A Covid testing centre in Manchester as Britain faces a cold snap
A Covid testing centre in Manchester as Britain faces a cold snap. Picture: PA

Wednesday saw the coldest night of the winter so far, with a low of minus 10.2C recorded in Dalwhinnie in the Scottish Highlands.

Although the AA said regional restrictions imposed due to Covid-19 meant roads were quieter than normal, bitterly cold conditions are forecast to continue throughout Thursday and into the new year.

Although usually millions would be getting ready to head out to pubs and bars to herald in the new year, everyone in England is being urged to remain at home to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “With our NHS under pressure we must all take personal responsibility this New Year’s Eve and stay at home.

“I know how much we have all sacrificed this year and  we cannot let up. Over 600,000 people have now been vaccinated and we are close to beating this virus.

“Now more than ever, we need to pull together to save lives and protect our NHS. If we continue to do our bit by staying at home, we can get through this together.”