The UK could see the mildest New Year’s Eve on record, with sunshine in some areas, after what is likely to be one of the dullest Decembers ever.
But despite the sun, revellers in some parts of the UK will have to brace for heavy showers in the evening.
Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said there was a “good chance” of New Year’s Eve being the mildest ever.
She said: “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. 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 (57-59F), and a possible high of 16C (61F), 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 (51F) and 2011 when Colwyn Bay reached 14.8C (51.28F).
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.
The UK has seen less than 27 hours of sunshine across the past 30 days – 38% 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 on Thursday.
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.
Mr Snell told the PA news agency: “The globe is warming up so we would expect our winters to be milder than they were.”
Temperatures are expected to plummet to 6-9C in southern parts of Britain and 5-6C in northern areas from Bank Holiday Monday on Jan. 3.