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Spectacular sunset over East Anglia shines through Saharan dust

Sunset over the River Great Ouse in Bedford on Thursday 17 December 2015. Credit: Andy Glanville

A layer of dust and sand blown over from the Sahara desert has produced a spectacular sunset over parts of the Anglia region.

It came as exceptionally mild conditions saw record high temperatures for December in Bedfordshire and Suffolk.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said there was a moderate risk of dust from the Sahara settling across parts of the UK. Carried over from the African desert by southerly winds, it will largely affect parts of the South East and London.

Sunset over the River Great Ouse in Bedford on Thursday 17 December 2015. Credit: Andy Glanville

Temperatures are expected to stay mild in the run up to Christmas peaking on Saturday when more record daytime and night time temperatures could be recorded in the Anglia region.

December 2015 is turning out to be one of the mildest on record with temperatures in the first half of the month 5°C above average for the time of year.

Record mild December temperatures in the Anglia region

December temperature records have been broken in Suffolk and Bedfordshire. Credit: Patrick Pleul/DPA/Press Association Images

Two places in the Anglia region have broken long-standing December temperatures as the mild spell continues.

Santon Downham in Suffolk reached 15.6°C beating its previous December record of 15.3°C set in 1993 and 1994.

The highest temperature at Bedford on Thursday was 15.2°C beating a December record set in 1985. It is possible that temperatures could be even higher in the Anglia region on Saturday.

The highest temperature ever recorded in England during December was 17.7°C at Chivenor in Devon on 2 December 1985.

Maximum temperature in the Anglia region on Thursday
Average December maximum temperature in the Anglia region

December 2015 is on course to be one of the mildest on record in the Anglia region.

Maximum temperatures on the first 17 days have averaged 12°C, which is 5°C above normal.

The mildest December on record in East Anglia was in 1934 when the mean maximum temperature was 10°C

Weather warning of further strong winds in parts of the Anglia region

There's a warning of further strong winds affecting parts of the Anglia region during Monday. It follows a weekend of blustery weather with winds in East Anglia gusting in excess of 60 mph.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning with the risk of disruption to travel.

Area covered by yellow weather warning on Monday 30 November 2015. Credit: Met Office

This weather warning is in force from 9am until 6pm on Monday 30 November. It covers parts of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

The Met Office says: "Southwesterly winds will increase later on Monday morning, with gales extending eastwards across Wales along with much of southern and central England, and severe gales likely on exposed western and southern coasts.

"Gusts of 50 mph are likely inland whilst gusts of 60 mph will affect some exposed coasts in the west and south. Winds will will gradually ease from the west on Monday afternoon."

"A further depression will move quickly east across the UK on Monday, crossing northern England in the afternoon. A swathe of gales is expected to the south of the depression's track.

"Although wind strengths will probably be slightly less than Sunday's system there is still the possibility of some localised low level impacts."

– Met Office Chief Forecaster's Assessment


Anglia Weather: Warning of wind this weekend

The Met Office have issued a yellow warning for wind this weekend. The warning, which advises the public to 'be aware' of strong winds, will be valid between 9am on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday.

According to the Chief Meteorologist:

A blustery weekend is expected across England and Wales with winds strengthening from the west on Saturday morning. Gusts around coastlines exposed to the westerly or southwesterly winds could reach 60 mph at times. Inland gusts will be less frequent but could still reach 50 to 55 mph.

– Met Office Chief Meteorologist
Yellow warning for wind, valid 9am on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday. Credit: Met Office

There is the potential for disruption locally due to the strong winds. After a sunny start to the weekend, it will turn increasingly unsettled with cloud and blustery rain or showers at times.

Met Office mean sea level pressure chart for midday Saturday. Credit: Met Office

Coastal flood alert for East Anglia downgraded

There were high seas and waves crashing over the sea wall at Bacton and Walcott over the weekend. Credit: Eric Smith

The risk of coastal flooding in East Anglia on Wednesday and Thursday has been downgraded to 'very low'.

It was feared high tides could coincide with strong northerly winds to created a tidal surge with the risk of some flooding at the coast.

The Environment Agency now says: "The forecast risk of flooding across England and Wales for today and the next two days is very low."

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