UK weather – Britain has first white Christmas in three years before Storm Bella batters Britain with 70mph winds

BRITS have shivered through their first white Christmas in three years before Storm Bella hurtles through with 70mph winds.

Severe gales and heavy rain will pummel Britain on Boxing Day, the Met Office has warned.

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Moray gets a white Christmas in 2020[/caption]

GEOFF ROBINSON

But the festive celebrations were a nightmare for others as flooding hit parts of the UK on December 25, including in Cambridgeshire, above[/caption]

GEOFF ROBINSON

Weather warnings are in place for large parts of the UK on Boxing Day, with Storm Bella expected to bring heavy rain[/caption]

Storm Bella’s arrival on Boxing Day will bring terrifying winds of up to 70mph – forecast to smash exposed coastal locations – along with further downpours.

That’s bad news for flood-hit areas such as Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, where mass evacuations were carried out overnight.

An amber wind warning, which means travel could be disrupted, has been issued for parts of south Wales and across southern England on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a yellow warning of strong winds predicted to strike the whole of England and Wales, as well as Scotland’s far south, has also been issued by the Met Office, and will be in force from 3pm on Boxing Day.

In addition to the strong winds, the Met Office said a period of heavy rain will affect western and southern areas on Boxing Day.

Deputy Chief Meteorologist Tony Wardle, said: “Conditions will turn very unsettled after Christmas day, with a large area of low pressure sweeping across the UK from Boxing Day.

“Very strong winds will impact much of England and Wales, with particularly strong gusts on south west facing coasts.

“Heavy rain will also move in from the north, with heavy downpours through the afternoon in Scotland and Northern Ireland moving south across England and Wales overnight.

“This will be a notable change from the calmer conditions over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so take extra care and stay up to date with the latest forecast.”

A yellow warning for heavy downpours has been issued for parts of Scotland, Wales and much of north and south west England on Saturday.

This includes areas where there has already been flooding.

When the Met Office tweeted its forecast of Storm Bella, people were quick to point out that its graphics looked like an evil grin on course for the UK.

Spot the evil grin – as Storm Bella heads for the UK on Boxing Day

Above: Storm Bella’s evil ‘grin’ unsettles some Brits

It is the second named storm of the season.

Storm Bella follows brisk and chilly conditions across the UK on Christmas Day, with early morning snowfall recorded in some areas – and the weather service officially declaring the 25th as a White Christmas.

Parts of Greater Manchester saw snow during yesterday afternoon.

The snowfall in Leconfield in Humberside and Wattisham in Suffolk was the first in the UK on December 25 since 2017.

The Met Office confirmed it was a white Christmas in a tweet this morning, saying: “Morning everyone, we’ve just had official confirmation that this #Christmas is a white one!

“Leconfield in Humberside reported #snow falling at 5am, and Wattisham in Suffolk also reported recent snow at this time.”

Families were spotted playing in the Christmas Day snow on hills near Hexham, Northumberland.

And Brits in Hessle, East Yorkshire, took pictures of the snowfall on their streets.

The UK will be a wild scene on Boxing Day, with gale-force winds and rain

Yet it was a soggy festive day further south, where Bedfordshire Police “strongly urged” residents living near the River Great Ouse in north Bedfordshire to seek alternative accommodation due to fears of flooding.

Some 1,300 people were told to evacuate due to rapidly rising water.

Bedford council set up Covid-safe emergency centres at Bedford International Athletic Stadium and Bromham Village Hall in Bromham.

These have been prepared for those told to evacuate due to flooding – but do not have another location to go to at this time.

“If you have been contacted and advised to leave your home due to the threat of flooding, and you can do so safely, emergency services and the local authority are strongly encouraging you to do so,” the council said.

Temperatures were expected to plunge overnight, with lows of -4C in northern England and Scotland and -2C and -3C further south.

Some people unfortunately had their Christmas ruined by dreadful flooding in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Families grabbed unopened Christmas presents when they were evacuated from their homes after firefighters and cops declared a major emergency.

Emergency services had to rescue more than 1,000 people from the flooding at Billing Aquadrome holiday park in Northamptonshire.

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PA:Press Association

Snow covering houses at Hexham, Northumberland, Christmas Day[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Families playing in the Christmas Day snow on hills in Northumberland[/caption]

markstockdale69

Snowfall in Hessle, East Yorkshire, December 25[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Early morning snowfall was recorded in parts of the UK, with the Met Office declaring it a White Christmas[/caption]

Northamptonshire Police urged people to stay away from the Billing Aquadrome holiday park, after hundreds were evacuated on Christmas Eve due to high water levels on the River Nene.

The force said water levels had reached 5ft in some places, with emergency services using boats to take residents in the worst-hit areas to safety.

Most of those evacuated were able to find overnight accommodation with friends and family, with a special exemption from Covid-19 restrictions, while about 100 people were transferred to a hotel.

Detective Superintendent Jamie Piscopo said: “Emergency services are working hard to ensure residents can return to the site as soon as possible, however it is not currently safe to do so.

“We’d urge them to stay away until such time it is safe to do.”

Many parts of the Anglia region saw up to a month’s worth of rain in 12 hours overnight into Christmas Eve with the threat of more severe weather to come on Boxing Day.

Across England, a total of 82 flood warnings and 101 flood alerts remained in force at 1am on Boxing Day as huge amounts of water flowed through river catchments.

Amid the temperature drop people were pictured getting in the spirit of a somewhat different Christmas this year.

Brave souls ran into the chilly waves near Edinburgh and Swansea on the 25th for a festive swim, while others took on the snowy roads in County Durham.

It was the first White Christmas since 2017 when only a smattering of weather stations recorded snowfall at 10.42pm.

The last big blitz was in 2010 during the coldest December for 100 years.

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Swimmers in Santa hats bathed in the glow of sunrise as they braced themselves to brave the cold sea at Langland Bay[/caption]

North News and Pictures

A blanket of snow covered the Consett area of Co. Durham [/caption]

Alamy Live News

Some brave souls taking to the water at the coast near Edinburgh[/caption]

Alamy Live News

Teesdale, County Durham, looking festive on Christmas Eve[/caption]

Jordan Crosby

Snow fell across northern areas as a White Christmas swept in[/caption]

Jordan Crosby

A car braves the icy roads in Lanehead, County Durham [/caption]

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