The Boxing Day freeze: Met Office warns of snow and ice on December 26

The Boxing Day freeze: Met Office warns of snow and ice on December 26 with temperatures plummeting after a balmy 13C Christmas Day

  • Weather on Christmas Day is set to be fairly mild, with highs of 13C in some areas
  • But Met Office says there’s a risk of snow and ice from Boxing Day into New Year
  • The UK will battle below-average temperatures and numerous wintry blasts 
  • Some areas could see winds as cold as -11C, forecasters have warned 

Britain is bracing for another Arctic blast of snow, ice and bitter winds as temperatures plummet on Boxing Day.

After a balmy 13C Christmas, the UK will battle below-average temperatures and numerous wintry blasts from December 26 and into the new year. 

The Met Office has warned there may be snow in the South followed by windy and changeable weather, including rain, snow, and cold brighter spells, until January 4. 

Some areas could see winds as cold as -11C and ‘some wintry showers are also possible, especially in coastal areas’.

Britain is bracing for another Arctic blast of snow, ice and bitter winds as temperatures plummet on Boxing Day

After a balmy 13C Christmas, the UK will battle below-average temperatures and numerous wintry blasts from December 26 and into the new year

Over the weekend, the weather is expected to be cloudy and windy with showers and longer spells of rain.

It is then expected to get colder from Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, with wintry showers in the North – although temperatures are expected to reach as high as 13C in parts of the UK.

Frequent wintry showers are then expected to affect northern areas on Boxing Day, becoming confined to the Northern Isles, the Met Office forecast.

It added that there may be snow in the South for a time followed by windy and changeable weather, including rain, snow, and cold brighter spells, until January 4.

The Met Office added: ‘Around the turn of the year, uncertainties in the forecast increase, but a ridge of high pressure may bring a quieter interlude for many with more widely colder conditions, overnight frost and crisp, sunny days.’

It said ‘some wintry showers are also possible, especially in coastal areas’.

The long-range prediction from January 5 to 19 is less certain, but forecasters expect wet, windy weather with some chance of snow. 

The Met Office has warned there may be snow in the South followed by windy and changeable weather, including rain, snow, and cold brighter spells, until January 4. Pictured: Kirkgate Park on the banks of Loch Leven

Some areas could see winds as cold as -11C and ‘some wintry showers are also possible, especially in coastal areas’. Pictured: Snow covered Sandhaven Beach on December 18

The long-range prediction from January 5 to 19 is less certain, but forecasters expect wet, windy weather with some chance of snow. Pictured: Cold water swimmers on the beach at Cullercoats Bay on December 17

Meantime, pagans met at prehistoric Stonehenge today to celebrate the Winter Solstice as they brought in the sunrise and the beginning of longer days. 

The midsummer and midwinter solstice celebrations are a biannual pilgrimage for many Druids and Pagans as they gather to watch the sun rise.

But this morning the view was obscured by heavy clouds over Salisbury Plain.

The Met Office said the weather today across much of England and Wales would be ‘dull, grey and cloudy’ with clouds ‘thick enough for patchy rain at times’.

It was brighter elsewhere, but expect some rain, mainly in northern Scotland where it will be ‘breezy with wintry showers’.

The forecaster said that tonight ‘much of England and Wales will be cloudy with heavy rain over parts of Wales and south-west England later’.

There will be ‘some fog about, mainly in northern England and Northern Ireland. Wintry showers far north’.

Walkers out during damp and foggy weather this morning in Dunsden, Oxfordshire

Heavy fog on a country road in Dunsden this morning

Two attendees at Stonehenge this morning, well dressed for the weather, which was cloudy and a relatively chilly 8C

Flowers being lifted at the celebrations today

Neo-Druid leader Arthur Uther Pendragon performing a knighting ceremony at Stonehenge this morning

The Environment Agency has issued red flood warnings across the South of England to locations including Wareham in Dorset.

Is has also issued a red flood warning along the River Stour from Christchurch, Dorset, to Oakley in Hampshire.

The A303, the main route to Stonehenge, was clogged with traffic as visitors start arriving last night.

English Heritage, which manages the site, urged visitors to use public transport and leave their cars at home due to the limited on-site parking.

But some of those hoping to celebrate stepping out of the dark this morning would have been left disappointed because parking spaces ran out at all nearby car parks 20 minutes before the sunrise.

English Heritage tweeted at 7.50am: ‘Due to unprecedented numbers of vehicles arriving for the Winter Solstice, all car parks at Stonehenge are now full.

‘Please do not depart for Stonehenge if you were planning to visit this morning for the Solstice.’

Royal Museums Greenwich said: ‘The Winter Solstice occurs at the minimum point for the northern hemisphere when the sun is lowest in the sky.

‘At this time, the Earth’s North Pole is pointing away from the Sun.’

This means that the northern hemisphere experiences its shortest day in terms of hours of sunlight.

Following this, the days will get longer and the nights will get shorter as the season eventually transitions into spring.

Despite celebrations taking place this morning, Royal Museums Greenwich said the 2022 Winter Solstice actually happened at 9.48pm yesterday.

Noting that people visit Stonehenge for the solstice to ‘glimpse the sun’s rays through the stones, which are lined up with the path of the sun’, it added: ‘While both solstices are celebrated by modern day religions and tourists alike, the ancient civilisation that first built the monument most likely did so primarily for the winter solstice, perhaps to request a good growing season in the year to come.’

Scott Ashman, from English Heritage, said: ‘It was fantastic to welcome approximately 4,500 people to Stonehenge this morning to celebrate winter solstice.

‘We were delighted that a further 100,000 people watched the sunrise live online from right around the world.

‘It was an enjoyable and peaceful celebration despite the damp and misty weather, and it was great to see so many families enjoying themselves around the monument.

‘We’d like to wish everyone who joined us this morning a safe trip home and a very happy Christmas.’

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