Predictions of a white Christmas are set to be a damp squib for most – but snow is still likely on northern hills in England and Wales as well as in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A mainly dry and cloudy day is forecast for most parts of England and Wales on December 25, with wet weather moving in from the South and West later, but wintry showers are still possible in parts of the Pennines.

Upland areas of southern Scotland are also likely to have sleet and snow. There is also an ice warning in place this morning for northern Scotland which will make travelling conditions difficult for those driving home for Christmas.

The Met Office said specific locations for snow on Christmas Day are still unclear because the boundary between where cold and milder air will be – and therefore which areas might see snow – is still uncertain. 

On December 25, London will see temperatures averaging at 10C (50F), compared to an average of 5C (41F) in Glasgow, with the Scottish city seeing possible lows of 3C (37F) and highs of 6C (43F) throughout the afternoon.

Northern England will also be mild, with average temperatures of 5C (41F) to 6C (43F) in Manchester and Leeds, and a chance of rain. The normal average temperature for the end of December for the entire UK is 7C (45F).

Bookmaker Coral makes it odds on, at 1-2, that snow falls somewhere in the UK on Christmas Day, adding that the UK has technically had a white Christmas 40 times out of the last 61 years. It added that Edinburgh (4-5), Newcastle (evens) and Belfast (5-4) were the three major cities with the shortest odds, while London is at 3-1. 

Meanwhile millions of Britons will face travel chaos over Christmas and the New Year thanks to rail strikes, airport disruption and predictions of the busiest roads in years amid high demand for leisure journeys by road, rail and air.

Beat the queues when driving home for Christmas: The RAC’s at-a-glance guide to travel in the run-up to December 25
Date Leisure trips by car Major roads likely to be particularly busy between Major roads likely to be less busy between Major road expected to be subject to longest delay (excludes impact of any unplanned breakdowns or collisions)
Monday 20 December 3.7m 3pm and 6.30pm Before 1pm M60 clockwise J7 to J18, late afternoon
Tuesday 21 December 3.7m 4pm to 5pm Before 8am M6 north J5 to J10a, early evening
Wednesday 22 December 3.7m 12pm to 3pm After 5pm M40 south J11 to J9, middle of the day
Thursday 23 December 4.1m 12pm to 4pm After 6pm M25 clockwise J7 to J16, middle of the day
Friday 24 December 5.3m 11am to 2pm After 6pm A303 West Solstice Park to A36, middle of the day

Wales will also experience mild weather on December 25, with a little rain expected and a very small possibility of light hill snow. 

The mild temperatures mean there is little risk of frost and ice across most of the UK, and any rainfall will be short-lived and unlikely to cause any disruption.

Millions face travel chaos amid rail strikes, airport disruption and busy roads

Millions will face travel chaos over Christmas and the New Year thanks to rail strikes, airport disruption and predictions of the busiest roads in years.

CrossCountry, one of the country’s main rail operators, warned there will be few trains running tomorrow and on New Year’s Eve as the RMT union presses ahead with industrial action.

Roads are expected to see their busiest festive period for five years with up to 5.3million drivers expected to get behind the wheel tomorrow, according to the RAC.

And travellers using Heathrow – Britain’s busiest airport – on Boxing Day also face issues as it will be cut off from Tube and train links due to engineering works.

It comes as hundreds of trains continued to be cancelled across the country due to Covid-related staff absences. Almost one in 20 trains were cancelled on Monday while eight operators yesterday warned of the likelihood of last-minute cancellations.

Some 370 engineering projects are also being carried out on the railways in the coming days – leaving Leeds with a reduced service between December 27 and January 3.

The CrossCountry strikes, brought about over an employee training row, will also see no trains between Leicester and Stansted Airport, Cheltenham Spa and Cardiff Central and on some routes in Devon and Cornwall.

Some companies have urged travellers to take earlier trains due to possible upheaval. And the RAC has warned that major roads are likely to be busiest between midday and 4pm today and 11am and 2pm tomorrow.

 

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There is a risk of fog across southern parts of England and Wales on Christmas Eve which could affect travel, but this will be clear by Christmas Day. 

It comes as the first Christmas getaway for two years has led to high demand for leisure journeys by road, rail and air.

A survey of nearly 2,000 people in Britain for watchdog Transport Focus indicated that 44 per cent plan to travel to visit friends or family over the festive period.

Coronavirus restrictions meant many people missed out on such visits 12 months ago.

The poll suggested the majority of those planning a getaway this year intend to travel by road, with only one in 10 using public transport.

An estimated 4.1million journeys by people embarking on overnight stays or day trips will take place on UK roads on Thursday, rising to 5.3million on Christmas Eve, according to RAC analysis.

Major roads are likely to be particularly busy between 12pm and 4pm on Thursday, and 11am and 2pm on Friday.

The RAC, which surveyed 1,400 drivers, predicts it will be the busiest Christmas getaway on the roads in five years.

Although demand for rail travel is at around 50% of pre-pandemic levels, thousands of people are travelling by train to spend Christmas with loved ones.

Hundreds of trains have been cancelled due to pandemic-related staff shortages.

Some 370 engineering projects are being carried out on the railways in the coming days, which will also disrupt services.

Heathrow Airport will be cut off from the rail and Tube network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day due to Network Rail and Transport for London doing simultaneous work.

Disruption elsewhere includes:

  • Leeds will have a reduced service between December 27 and January 3, including a ‘very limited’ service on January 2.
  • No services will run between London King’s Cross and Finsbury Park on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
  • CrossCountry trains will not call at Bristol Parkway between December 27 and 31.

Passengers can find out whether their journeys are affected through their train operator or National Rail Enquiries.

The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year outside summer for international travel from the UK, with many people visiting family overseas, enjoying a winter sun holiday or going skiing. 

An area of low pressure from the Atlantic is now predicted to move in but it will run up against easterly winds over Britain, making it feel cool and bringing the chance of wintry conditions on high ground

An area of low pressure from the Atlantic is now predicted to move in but it will run up against easterly winds over Britain, making it feel cool and bringing the chance of wintry conditions on high ground

An area of low pressure from the Atlantic is now predicted to move in but it will run up against easterly winds over Britain, making it feel cool and bringing the chance of wintry conditions on high ground

The number of people heading abroad is higher than last year but remains down on pre-pandemic levels.

Freezy riders! Pair of NAKED skiers are spotted on slopes of 4,000ft Scottish mountain on frozen -2C morning 

By Henry Martin For MailOnline 

A pair of naked skiers were caught on camera up a 4,000ft mountain on a -2C winter morning.

George Robertson, 64, was rambling a remote mountaintop on Cairn Gorm, a peak in the Grampian Mountains in the Highlands of Scotland, hoping to snap wild hares when he captured more than he’d bargained for.

The retired father-of-three spotted a nude man and woman through his camera lens on Saturday as they clutched skis atop the snow-capped peak.

Mr Robertson verified his find through a pair of bird watching binoculars.

He said it was unusually warm that day, melting the snow and attracting lots of walkers.

Mr Robertson was with four other nature photographers and believes they were clearly visible to the nudist pair, but he claims the couple seemed unperturbed about being observed.

George Robertson, 64, was rambling a remote mountaintop on Cairn Gorm, a peak in the Grampian Mountains in the Highlands of Scotland, hoping to snap wild hares when he captured more than he'd bargained for

George Robertson, 64, was rambling a remote mountaintop on Cairn Gorm, a peak in the Grampian Mountains in the Highlands of Scotland, hoping to snap wild hares when he captured more than he'd bargained for

George Robertson, 64, was rambling a remote mountaintop on Cairn Gorm, a peak in the Grampian Mountains in the Highlands of Scotland, hoping to snap wild hares when he captured more than he’d bargained for

The retired father-of-three spotted a nude man and woman through his camera lens on Saturday as they clutched skis atop the snow-capped peak

The retired father-of-three spotted a nude man and woman through his camera lens on Saturday as they clutched skis atop the snow-capped peak

The retired father-of-three spotted a nude man and woman through his camera lens on Saturday as they clutched skis atop the snow-capped peak

‘There was a group of five of us out taking wildlife photographs and we stumbled across these two naked skiers about 100 meters from the summit,’ he said.

‘It was quite a busy day because the weather was warm. I have walked in the Scottish mountains for close to 50 years and I haven’t come across that before.

‘It was just disbelief at first because I was looking through the camera, scouring the horizon and there was a couple standing there with no clothes on. So it was just shock and disbelief, and then we carried on looking for wildlife.

‘They could obviously see other people were on the mountain because we were clearly in their line of sight but they just carried on doing what they were doing, and then dressed and skied off.

‘I wasn’t offended by it but I just thought it was a bit odd looking like that hundreds of metres up a mountain with snow on the ground. I thought the images were quite amusing at the time: just people running about in the snow with just bobble hats on and a pair of skis in their hands.’

It is not an offence to be naked in public in England and Wales but it does become a crime if a complainant can prove the nudist’s intention was to offend and shock.

In Scotland, it is just a common law offence and the test is whether a member of the public has been alarmed or disturbed by the public nakedness.

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Gatwick Airport said it expects to welcome nearly 750,000 passengers between December 18 and 31, which is nearly seven times more than over the same period 12 months ago but less than half of what it saw before the virus crisis.

Thursday and Boxing Day are expected to be among its busiest days for departures, with up to 35,000 passengers each day.

Popular destinations include the Irish capital, Dublin, and Cancun in Mexico.

Gatwick’s chief commercial officer, Jonathan Pollard, said the airport is ‘encouraged by the number of people looking to travel this Christmas’ but said new coronavirus testing requirements have ‘impacted some people’s travel plans over the holiday period’.

He added: ‘While we understand the need for measures to stop the spread of the Omicron variant until more scientific information on its level of harm is available, it is vital these are in place no longer than absolutely necessary.’

Bristol Airport is anticipating it will be used by more than 100,000 passengers between December 21 and 31.

One of its busiest days will be December 27 when approximately 12,000 passengers will fly in or out of the airport.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport said it expects around 40,000 passengers to pass through between Christmas Eve and January 3, which is around 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The airport was hoping demand would be at around 70 per cent to 80 per cent of normal before the new restrictions were introduced.

Eurostar and Brittany Ferries both said they experienced an increase in cancellations after France announced a ban on UK arrivals for tourism and business trips last week.

The Met Office’s early Christmas forecast predicted unsettled weather but it was uncertain whether the airflow would be easterly – and chilly, bringing possible widespread snowfall – or from the Atlantic, so milder.

An area of low pressure from the Atlantic is now predicted to move in but it will run up against easterly winds over Britain, making it feel cool and bringing the chance of wintry conditions on high ground.

Deputy chief meteorologist Chris Bulmer, said: ‘The Christmas period will be a fairly unsettled spell across the UK this year. Many will see wet and cloudy conditions as mild air dominates over the south and west of the UK. 

‘Where this mild air meets colder air trying to sink south there is a chance of some Christmas snow, this looking most likely over the Pennines, however exactly where this boundary will be is still uncertain.

‘In the far, north cold conditions and clearer skies will bring a more wintry feel. For many areas, a brisk easterly wind will bring a notable wind chill.’

After a frosty morning and raw day yesterday, mild air moved in later and overnight, bringing cloud and rain from the South West, which was due to turn to freezing rain, sleet and hill snow in Scotland.

Up to two inches of snow could fall on high ground above 400 metres (1,300ft) to 500 metres (1,600ft) during last night and today in the Highlands.

For Christmas Eve, it is set to be mostly mild and cloudy but on Christmas Day, the UK is set to become a battleground between mild and wet air in the south west and chilly air making inroads from the north and east.

Forecasters said the ‘unsettled spell of weather will continue through the Christmas period.’ In its forecast for Christmas Day, the Met Office predicted ‘continued rain across Wales as well as central and southern England’.

It added: ‘Further north, where the boundary between milder and colder air is, there is a chance of some snow, primarily over high ground.

‘This exact location is still uncertain, however, Pennine areas and then the Southern Uplands (of southern Scotland) are the most likely to see snow. 

‘Further north, in the cold air, skies will be clearer with sunshine and lower daytime temperatures.’ Towards New Year, the Met Office added: ‘The forecast looks to remain unsettled, with mild air from the southwest bringing wet and at times windy conditions.

In their forecast for the beginning of January, forecasters said ‘mild, unsettled weather, with rain and occasional strong winds’, is due to continue in the South.

The Met Office added: ‘To the north, more settled conditions are likely with brighter spells and winds slowly easing to lead to perhaps some frost or ice.

‘It is due to become milder across northern areas in time. Along the boundary, there is potential for significant weather with snow likely at times.’ The weather is due to become ‘colder than average heading into January with any unsettled, milder spells most likely for the west and south’. 

Source: Daily Mail

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