It's a White Christmas: Snow falls in parts of UK on Xmas Day

25 December 2020, 08:22 | Updated: 25 December 2020, 09:38

Twitter photo showing snowfall on Christmas Day in Hessle, East Yorkshire
Twitter photo showing snowfall on Christmas Day in Hessle, East Yorkshire. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Snow has fallen in parts of the UK on Friday morning, with the Met Office officially declaring it a White Christmas.

Reports of snowfall came in from Leconfield in Humberise, Wattisham in Suffolk and Hessle in East Yorkshire as of 5am on Christmas morning.

However, the Met Office said the day is likely to be clear and dry across most of the UK, although showers in the east of England could bring sleet or snow in the morning.

The White Christmas announcement comes amid widespread flooding in Britain that has seen people being rescued from cars and evacuated from houses due to heavy rain.

Storm Bella will batter the UK from Boxing Day, bringing further downpours and winds of up to 60-70mp in open coastal locations.

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Alex Burkill, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said on Thursday: "Christmas Eve night into Christmas Day is going to be very cold, with harsh widespread frost first thing Christmas morning.

"So it could be a 'white' Christmas in as much as lots of people are going to wake up to a frost.

"They'll be very light, scattered, not everywhere will see them by any means, and for most areas it's going to be a pretty dry day, just cold, but there is a chance we could see a few showers of snow across eastern parts of England, particularly early on Christmas Day."

However, wet conditions and flooding in the Midlands led the Environment Agency to issue two severe flood warnings on Thursday for the River Nene in Northamptonshire, meaning there is a risk to life.

There were a total of 111 flood warnings and 137 flood alerts, as well as the two severe flood warnings, in force across England at 5am on Christmas Day due to significant amounts of water flowed through river catchments.

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Northamptonshire Police said the emergency services were working through the night to evacuate more than 1,000 people from the Billing Aquadrome holiday park in the county, with heavy rain causing flooding with water up to 5ft deep in places.

A new mother and a young baby were evacuated by Northamptonshire Search and Rescue who were also involved in the operation.

Residents have been put up in emergency accommodation at hotels and at least two leisure centres, with some showing signs of hypothermia.

Police Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper said it was an "exceptionally challenging situation" and asked residents to leave the site if they could, adding they would be exempt from Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service declared a major incident at the holiday park on Thursday evening, with five crews and four specialist water teams searching 1,100 caravans.

The force previously responded to 250 incidents following heavy rain, deploying crews to pump out properties and stranded vehicles.

Houses in various parts of the country, including East Anglia and Gloucester, were also flooded as there was up to two inches of rainfall in some areas.

The Met Office said conditions across the UK will turn increasingly unsettled through to 27 December, with strong winds and heavy rain moving in from the north.

An amber national severe weather warning has been issued for parts of south Wales and across southern England, with gusts expected to reach up to 60-70mph in exposed coastal locations.

A yellow warning for wind for the whole of England and Wales as well as the far south of Scotland has also been issued and will be in force from 3pm on Boxing Day.