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New Year weather: UK gets off to warmest New Year on record - what temperature was New Year’s Day?

2022 has only just begun and it’s already breaking records

With 2021 officially behind us, the UK welcomed in the new year with the warmest temperatures on record.

The Met Office has said that New Year’s Eve 2021 is “provisionally the warmest on record” and that it could be the hottest New Year’s Day on record as well.

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This is what you need to know.

What was the temperature on New Year?

Britain enjoyed the warmest New Year on record as temperatures rose to above 16C.

The Met Office said that temperatures increased overnight to reach 16.5C in Bala, Gwynedd, north Wales.

Minutes after Big Ben strikes 12 0’ clock, fireworks were set off to welcome in the year 2022 (Photo: Martin Pope/Getty Images)

A Met Office spokesperson said: “This makes New Year’s Eve 2021 provisionally the warmest on record.

“Despite this value occurring overnight, we use the 0900-0900 time period for historical records.”

It could also be the hottest New Year’s Day on record as the Met Office said it was awaiting confirmation that 16.2C had been reached in St James’s Park, central London.

The current New Year’s Day record temperature was 15.6C recorded in Bude, Cornwall, in 1916.

Will temperatures remain high?

Met Office forecaster Dan Stroud urged people to “make the most of the warmth because a change is on the way as we go into the early part of next week”.

Daytime temperatures are expected to plunge to as low as 3C in Edinburgh by Tuesday and 7C in London and Cardiff.

Temperatures are set to plummet despite the mild weather that ushered in 2022 (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Stroud said: “We are going to be losing the sub-tropical air flow and replacing it with some things from the north.

Temperatures will definitely go back to average, with a return of frost and some snow in the forecast across north areas and across the hills.”

The warm start to the new year follows a mild December and record-breaking temperatures during the day on New Year’s Eve.

What would the temperature usually be like?

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said the average temperature in December and the beginning of January is usually around 7C or 8C, with the warmer weather due to a south-westerly wind making its way across the country.

The higher temperatures are usually localised, but “plenty of places” have seen highs of 15C over December, he said.

Friday saw temperatures reach 15.8C in Merryfield in Somerset and Nantwich in Cheshire, which beat the previous record of 14.8C.

What’s the forecast for the coming week?

According to the Met Office, Sunday 2 January is set to be unsettled, with a “mixture of sunny spells and showers or longer spells of rain, heavy at times”.

The second day of the new year is also predicted to be windy and blustery at times, especially in the south, but overall very mild.

The outlook for Monday to Wednesday is believed to take a turn for the colder, with “outbreaks of rain and hill snow clearing snow”.

The Met Office adds that we could be seeing some wintry showers following overnight frost before turning unsettled but not as cold around midweek.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for nothern Scotland (Photo: Met Office)

On Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 January, northern Scotland has been issued a yellow weather warning for wind and snow.

The Met Office warns that “frequent snow showers and gusts to severe gale force are expected on Tuesday [and Wednesday], leading to travel disruption, particularly for higher routes”.

You can expect the following, according to the weather service:

  • Difficult driving conditions at times on higher routes
  • Some bus, ferry, and possibly train services being affected, with journeys either cancelled or taking longer than usual 
  • Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges also possible 
  • Likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities affected by spray and/or large waves 

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