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Christmas rainbow as big chill sets in with risk of snow

A large swathe of central Britain has been warned to be ready for snow as a cold snap brings freezing temperatures in the lead-up to the New Year.

An area including Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands, East Anglia, the North West, Yorkshire and as far south east as London and Kent has been put on a yellow alert for snow by the Met Office.

A rainbow was spotted in Northampton around midday on Christmas Day Credit: Janet Barker

There was a Christmas Day rainbow in Northampton as blue skies changed to grey around lunchtime, immediately followed by rain as rainbow disappeared.

Overnight into Boxing Day was also the coldest night of the year so far as the temperature at Braemar in Scotland dropped to -8.5°C.

The lowest temperatures in the Anglia region were around -2 to -3°C and were still below freezing in a few places at 10am.

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Areas at greatest risk of seeing snow on Boxing Day

Snow could strike parts of of the Anglia region later on Boxing Day and overnight into Saturday, as forecasters warn of a cold snap hitting Britain with freezing temperatures in the lead-up to the New Year.

The Met Office said there is some uncertainty about which regions will see snow, but where it does fall there could be accumulations of between 2cm and 4cm and in excess of 10cm in areas of higher ground.

Areas at risk of seeing some snow on Boxing Day and Saturday. Credit: Met Office

Forecasters still say the risk of snow in the Anglia region is still on a knife edge.

It's a marginal situation where rain could turn to snow for a time most likely during the evening of Boxing Day and overnight into Saturday.

If you do see snow, email your pictures to


Snow warning for Boxing Day

Area affected by yellow warning of the risk of snow. Credit: Met Office

The Met Office have issued a snow warning for the Anglia region for Boxing Day. After a frosty start to the day tomorrow, a band of rain is expected to spread east across the UK, turning to snow in places as it mixes with the colder air.

"An area of rain, sleet and snow is expected to spread eastwards across parts of Northern Ireland, England and Wales during Boxing Day before clearing during the evening and overnight. A lot of uncertainty surrounds how much snow will occur, but there is the risk of several centimetres even at low levels. As precipitation clears, roads could turn very icy.

The public should be aware of the potential for disruption from snow. Please watch for updates to this warning. especially if travelling.

There remains much more uncertainty than average regarding the track of this depression which in turn leads to uncertainty about the location of the heaviest precipitation and how much snow there will be. Where snow does occur accumulations of 2 to 4 cm are likely even to lower levels."

– Met Office Chief Meteorologist

Temperatures are 7C above average on the mildest day of the winter so far

2pm temperatures across the Anglia region. Credit: Met Office

Temperatures throughout the Anglia region have peaked at 14C this afternoon, making it the warmest day of December 2014 so far.

It's a far cry from the same time last week when temperatures struggled to exceed 4C on the coldest day since March 2013.

It will feel colder on Friday as temperatures return to average for the time of year. 7C is the typical daytime high in East Anglia in mid-December.

Click here for the latest forecast for the Anglia region.


Winds gust up to 50 mph in the Anglia region

Sustained average wind speeds (knots) in the Anglia region at 7am on Friday 12 December 2014. 27 knots = 31 mph Credit: Met Office

It's a breezy start to Friday in the Anglia region although winds are set to die down through the morning.

The winds have been gusting close to 50 mph.

Highest gusts in the Anglia region between 5am and 7am on Friday 12 December

  • 47 mph at Weybourne, Norfolk
  • 46 mph at Wittering, Cambridgeshire
  • 43 mph at Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex
  • 39 mph at Wattisham, Suffolk

The highest wind gust in the UK at 7am was 77 mph at The Needles on the Isle of Wight.

Met Office updates windy weather warning for the Anglia region on Friday

The yellow weather warning for strong winds is in force early on Friday. Credit: Met Office

The Met Office has updated its yellow weather warning for strong winds in the Anglia region on Friday.

Winds could gust at 50-70 mph especially near the coast.

The Met Office says the public should be aware of the risk of damage to trees, disruption to travel and possibly to power supplies.

The warning is in force from 0010 hrs to 0900 hrs on Friday 12 December

"There is the potential for gales, severe along some coasts, and accompanied by heavy rain, to spread across southern areas of England and Wales during the early hours of Friday, before easing during the morning. Gusts may reach 50 to 60 mph inland and perhaps around 70 mph in some exposed coastal districts."


Afternoon temperatures of just 3°C on the coldest day for more than a year

Temperatures have peaked at just 3°C across large parts of the Anglia region this afternoon on what may be the coldest day since spring 2013.

Temperatures at 1pm Thursday afternoon across East Anglia. Credit: Met Office.

The cold air over the east of England this afternoon has its origins from the near continent and it has been kept chilled underneath thick, low cloud.

Whilst today's temperatures are below the December daytime average of 7°C, it is not especially unusual to experience this kind of chilly, dull weather in winter. The fact that it is likely to be the coldest day since spring 2013 is more indicative of the consistently mild weather last winter than anything else.

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