Christmas Day will be Britain’s coldest in a decade tomorrow with snow set to fall as far south as East Anglia after heavy rain over the past few days, before Storm Bella sweeps in on Boxing Day bringing 80mph winds.
Flurries could be seen in the likes of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria tomorrow – and the Met Office warned that the weather is expected to remain unsettled in the final week of 2020 with an ‘increased chance of snow’.
Firefighters in South Wales received 500 calls for help in 24 hours, while crews in Northamptonshire said they had handled more than 250 flood calls, with several properties inundated and people rescued from stranded vehicles.
The Environment Agency issued 150 flood alerts and 113 more serious warnings across England, while Natural Resources Wales had six alerts and five warnings in place, after a Met Office rain warning ended in the early hours.
Some 16 of the flood warnings related to the River Severn on the Welsh border, while the Great River Ouse in Northamptonshire and the Chediston watercourse in Suffolk were also covered by the warnings.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, forecasters expect Christmas Day 2020 to be the coldest in ten years across England and Wales with daytime temperatures only getting up to 5C (41F) in London after plunging below 0C (32F) tonight.
Then on Boxing Day, the Met Office has issued an amber warning for southern England and South Wales amid fears that ‘flying debris is likely and could lead to Injuries or danger to life’ and a ‘good chance’ of power cuts.
The storm was named ‘Bella’ by the Met Office this morning, with the amber warning active between 10pm Boxing Day and 9am Sunday – in addition to a longer yellow warning in place from 3pm Boxing Day until 12pm Sunday.
It comes as:
- The forecast for Christmas Eve today is for fine weather around, with lots of sunshine but chilly temperatures;
- Snow and sleet could fall as far south as the Lincolnshire Wolds today, and in parts of Cumbria tomorrow;
- Christmas Day tomorrow will have a frosty start with -6C (21F) temperatures in rural areas in the early hours.
More than 1,000 people were today evacuated from 500 caravans in the Billing Aquadrome Holiday Park in Northampton following heavy rain which left wide areas covered in up to 5ft-deep floodwater.
Chief Supt Mick Stamper, of Northamptonshire Police, said: ‘Residents are urged to leave the site immediately and seek accommodation with family or friends where possible. Anyone worried that this may be put them in breach of Covid-19 regulations should be assured these are exceptional circumstances and they will be exempt.
‘We would, however, urge people not to go to homes where people are shielding or self-isolating as a result of Covid. This is an exceptionally challenging situation.’
Nottinghamshire Police said emergency services had been called to a report of a landslide near some homes near a former quarry at 11.40pm last night, and a ‘small number’ of properties had been evacuated.
Properties have also been flooded in East Anglia, with Patrick Lloyd, 27, from Peterborough, saying he woke up to find much of his home had been submerged in water, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
A dusting of snow covers the Old Packhouse Bridge at Carrbridge in the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands today
Firefighters help a local resident who was stranded in their home at Alconbury in Cambridgeshire this morning after flooding
Northamptonshire Search and Rescue aid evacuations in Northampton following heavy rains which left 5ft-deep water
There were 500 call outs for flooding in Wales. A home in Sully, south Wales, has been submerged in water after heavy rainfall
Heavy snow is hitting parts of the North East this morning on Christmas Eve, including in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham
Flooding at St Ives in Cambridgeshire on Christmas Eve today after the River Great Ouse burst its banks following heavy rain
Snow is falling this morning at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, the Queen’s private residence in the Scottish Highlands
People enjoy a light dusting of snow at Tynemouth Beach on the North East coast as temperatures plummet
A shopper makes her way through the snow getting last-minute shopping in the Consett area of County Durham today
A lorry driver makes their way through a flooded road in Suffolk this afternoon following heavy rainfall
The Environment Agency issued 150 flood alerts and 113 more serious warnings across England (left), while Natural Resources Wales had six alerts and five warnings in place (right)
He had to help rescue an elderly neighbour who had become trapped without power. Mr Lloyd said the 86-year-old woman had eventually been taken to hospital after spending around 50 minutes in the ‘freezing’ floodwater.
He said they were worried about hypothermia, saying: ‘Luckily a bloke driving by saw her and got out and helped us with her. We had to get the fire service out to get her on to a board and we lifted her out for an ambulance.’
In Nottinghamshire, police, fire and ambulance services, along with Mansfield District Council officials, were sent to the scene at Bank End Close in Mansfield to conduct safety assessments after the landslide. It comes just over a year after 35 homes were evacuated on the same road after a mudslide at the quarry behind it in November 2019.
Meanwhile Charlotte Taylor, of Topcroft, Norfolk, tweeted a picture of a man standing outside a flooded home wearing boots with sodden Christmas boxes and crackers in the early hours of today. She said: ‘If there is a photo that sums up my Christmas this is it. Mum of three all with Covid stuck indoors literally watching the house flood.’
In Gloucestershire today, dozens of roads were closed or passable only with great care – while some routes in the Forest of Dean were blocked either by fallen trees or cars abandoned by their owners overnight.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said they were inundated with calls to flooding during the night. Flooding closed the main A48 Gloucester to Cheostow road at Over for a period overnight.
A woman walks through floodwater in a Christmas outfit this morning following a deluge in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
A motorists clears snow from his windscreen after the white stuff falls in the County Durham village of Burnopfield
Flooding in Worcester is pictured today after torrential rain caused the River Severn levels to rise and burst its banks
A blanket of light snow covered Tynemouth Beach on Christmas Eve
Shoppers walk on the snow after getting their last minute Christmas Eve shopping today in Consett, County Durham
Motorists drive through snowy conditions in the County Durham former mining town of Hetton-le-Hole this morning
A blanket of snow covers parts of County Durham today as horses are pictured in the village of Anfield Plain
Snow covers the B9007 between Carrbridge and Forres in the Cairngorms National Park this afternoon
A car is stuck in floodwater this morning in the Cambridgeshire market town of Ramsey after heavy downpours in the area
A flooded field is seen in Suffolk this afternoon following heavy rainfall amid flood alerts and warnings across the country
Met Office weather warnings for Britain today (left) and Boxing Day (right) when Storm Bella will hit the country
A dusting of snow covers the Old Packhouse Bridge in Carrbridge, Cairngorms National Park after yellow warnings for snow across north-east Scotland
The disruption meant a nearby pub, already closed for several months because of Covid-19 lockdowns, has had to shut again due to flooding. The Toby Carvery at Over reopened in July after the first national lockdown.
But it then closed again during the second lockdown in November. The pub, also known as The Dog at Over, would have only been able to serve takeaways from Boxing Day as Gloucestershire was moving into Tier Three.
Also flooded was Over Farm shop, near to the pub on the A40, linking the Forest of Dean to Gloucester. Rees Keene, a partner in the business, said the area was still flooded but the water was receding.
In a video message, Mr Keene is stood in the flooded shop saying even his wellies are full of water. ‘I’m at the back of the shop and I’ve never seen anything like this,’ he said.
He said staff had been helping police trying to turn cars around in the car park amid ‘carnage’. ‘We had to close the road ourselves and every time a car drives through it is like a foot waterfall. Happy 2020,’ Mr Keene added.
Motorists and householders living near the River Severn were warned that even though no significant rain is expected today there is still a risk of further flooding in low lying areas, especially Tewkesbury and Apperley.
Heavy rainfall in Wales caused disruption on Christmas Eve. A garden in the village of Sully, South Wales, was submerged
A blanket of snow covers houses in the Bradley Bungalows area of Consett in County Durham this afternoon
Waves crash against the pier wall at Tynemouth on the North East coast of England this morning
The golf course in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, has flooded along with parts of the village after the Lode burst its banks
Shoppers park their cars outside a Morrisons in the Consett area of County Durham this afternoon where snow has fallen
Flood defences have been installed at Ironbridge in Shropshire ahead of Storm Bella following heavy rain in recent days
Flood defences are pictured at Ironbridge in Shropshire this morning having been installed ahead of Storm Bella’s arrival
Flood defences alongside the River Severn at Ironbridge in Shropshire today ahead of the arrival of Storm Bella on Boxing Day
Flood defences have been installed at Ironbridge in Shropshire today (left), where temporary flood bariers were tested to their maximum in February 2020 (right) and residents in riverside properties were told to leave their homes immediately
Flood defences are in place along the River Severn at Ironbridge in Shropshire this morning following heavy downpours
People walk along the beach in Bournmouth. Almost 100 flood warnings are in place across England
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service said it was ‘deluged’ with calls from 3pm yesterday, and rescued 44 people from stranded vehicles. It also helped homeowners after ‘serious flooding’ across the area.
Flood barriers were put up as a precaution in Ironbridge, Shropshire, and Bewdley, Worcestershire, although levels there were not expected to reach those seen in February when the town’s defences were partially breached.
Drivers were stuck for several hours on a stretch of the M50 motorway near Ledbury, Herefordshire, with running water flooding the carriageway. Bedfordshire fire crews said they had 60 calls to the 999 number in 90 minutes.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to 250 incidents, deploying crews to pump out homes and stranded vehicles, including one person stuck on a car roof at Fotheringhay between Peterborough and Corby.
In Cambridgeshire, the A14 between Thrapston and Brampton was still shut both ways this morning, with police urging drivers not to chance driving through floodwaters.
Milton Keynes Council said staff and Buckinghamshire firefighters had been helping residents in Newport Pagnell, New Bradwell and also Stony Stratford, where the high street had flooded amid ‘exceptionally high’ river levels.
Twitter user Alice from Norfolk posted heartbreaking footage of sodden Christmas presents in her flooded home, tweeting: ‘Completely flooded overnight in a storm, just in time for Christmas. Good one, Satan… good one’
Charlotte Taylor, of Topcroft, Norfolk, tweeted this picture in the early hours of this morning, saying: ‘If there is a photo that sums up my Christmas this is it. Mum of three all with Covid stuck indoors literally watching the house flood.’
David Kirkpatrick, of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, tweeted this picture in the early hours of today, saying: ‘House flooded. This was taken when water started coming in, it’s now over six inches high in front two bedrooms and two bathrooms’
Twitter user Yiba, who is UK-based, tweeted this picture last night saying: ‘OMG THANKS SANTA FOR BRINGING ME A FLOOD FOR CHRISTMAS. YOU REALLY SHOULDNT HAVE’
Properties have also been flooded in East Anglia, with Patrick Lloyd, 27, from Peterborough, saying he woke up to find much of his home (pictured today) had been submerged in water, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage
Peter Lloyd took this picture of flooding at his home in Peterborough today after heavy rain overnight. He had to help rescue an elderly neighbour who had become trapped without power and spent around 50 minutes in the ‘freezing’ floodwater
Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit tweeted this picture showing flooding on the B645 road in Stonely, Camridgeshire, this morning
A motorist drives through a flooded road this morning following heavy rainfall in Suffolk
Aerial view of flooding around Tewkesbury following days of torrential rain that has caused the river’s Severn and Avon to rise and burst their banks where they meet
Some 60.4mm (2.4in) of rain fell within 13 hours at the Trevethin reservoir in southern Wales yesterday, while 44.6mm (1.8in) of rain was also detected at Corby in Northamptonshire over the same period.
The heavy rain caused disruption to travel, with many areas including Cardiff reporting surface water on the roads. There were also reports of power cuts in Wales, with 200 homes at Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire blacked out.
Meanwhile, in the North East, on Christmas Eve, snow was falling in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and Gateshead Tyne & Wear, as well as north of the border in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: ‘There’s been a lot of wet weather around, we’ve had a heavy rain across much of England and Wales, particularly southern parts of Wales but also further east.
‘Most places in England and Wales have been really wet and we’ve seen strengthening winds too, there have been some gales in exposed parts, so quite unpleasant really.’
Mr Burkill later said the rainfall would cease overnight into Christmas Eve.
Waves crash against the pier wall at Tynemouth on the North East coast of England this morning
An aerial view of flooding around Worcester this morning following days of torrential rain across England and Wales
A Severn Trent Water employee drives a van through floodwater in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, this morning
Aerial view of flooding around Tewkesbury following days of torrential rain that has caused the river’s Severn and Avon to rise
An aerial view of flooding around Worcester this morning following heavy rain that has blighted the end of December
Flooding has brought dangerous road conditions for motorists in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, this morning
A house was completely submerged by the rising water level in Tewkesbury following days of torrential rain this week
Football pitches, playgrounds and car parks were completely under water this morning as the rain finally stopped in Tewkesbury
He said: ‘The wet weather we’ve got over us at the moment that’s all going to clear away towards the South East as we go through the night so for Christmas Eve we’re going to have lots of fine weather around, with lots of sunshine and a cold northerly flow.’
Experts said temperatures are due to plunge today when snow and sleet could fall in North Yorkshire and as far south as the Lincolnshire Wolds.
They predicted that Christmas Day tomorrow will be marked by a frosty start with temperatures as low as -6C (21F) in rural areas in the early hours, but the day will be mostly fine and dry, with sunny spells in places.
The Met Office said temperatures will struggle to get above low single figures and wind chill could make it feel close to freezing. In the North West around Cumbria, cloud is due to build during the day with some patchy light rain later.
This could turn wintry on high ground – bringing the chance of a White Christmas in isolated areas. However the first widespread White Christmas since 2010 does not look likely.
Mr Burkill said: ‘Christmas Eve night into Christmas Day is going to be very cold, with harsh widespread frost first thing Christmas morning. So it could be a ‘white’ Christmas in as much as lots of people are going to wake up to a frost.’
Aerial view of flooding around Tewkesbury following days of torrential rain that has caused the river’s Severn and Avon to burst their banks
Flooding around New Road cricket ground in Worcester today, which is the home of Worcestershire County Cricket Club
A man drives his car through floodwater in the Gloucestershire town of Tewkesbury this morning while wearing a Santa hat
An aerial view of flooding around Worcester today after days of torrential rain that has seen the River Severn burst its banks
Flooding in the market town of Tewkesbury this morning caused dangerous driving conditions for motorists
Flooding has hit the city of Worcester today following days of torrential rain across the county and further afield
A motorist drives their car through floodwater on a road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, on Christmas Eve morning
Christmas Day will be dry and settled for most of the UK, however, there may be showers in the eastern parts of England that bring the possibility of sleet or snow in the morning.
Mr Burkill said: ‘So in the Lincolnshire, Yorkshire area, maybe even East Anglia, there could be a few showers during the early hours and with the cold weather it’s not out of the question that there could be a wintery element to those, so a few showers could be falling as sleet or snow.
‘They’ll be very light, scattered, not everywhere will see them by any means, and for most areas it’s going to be a pretty dry day just cold.
‘But there is a chance we could see a few showers of snow across eastern parts of England, particularly early on Christmas Day.’
Mr Burkill said a band of rain will push across northwestern parts during the day, particularly in Scotland, which could lead to sleet or snow on the higher ground.
The meteorologist later suggested small amounts of snow may settle on the hills and mountains in Scotland.
He added: ‘It could technically be a white Christmas there but what we can be pretty confident about is that there’s not going to be widespread snow, people aren’t going to wake up to those picturesque sheets of snow that many people will be hoping for.’
A motorist smiles as he tries to drive his car through the floodwater in the Gloucestershire town of Tewkesbury this morning
Nottinghamshire Police said emergency services had been called to a report of a landslide near some homes near a former quarry in Mansfield (pictured today) at 11.40pm last night, and a ‘small number’ of properties had been evacuated
In Nottinghamshire, police, fire and ambulance services, along with Mansfield District Council officials, were sent to the scene at Bank End Close in Mansfield to conduct safety assessments after the landslide (pictured today)
Forecasters added that gales of up to 80mph are then set to batter the UK on Boxing Day.
An amber weather warning has been issued for parts of South Wales and across southern England, with gusts expected to reach up to 80mph in exposed locations.
A yellow warning for wind for the whole of England and Wales as well as the far south of Scotland has also been issued.
The strong south-westerly winds will develop across parts of northern England and the far south of Scotland on Boxing Day afternoon, before transferring south-eastwards across the rest of England and Wales into Sunday morning, clearing by early Sunday afternoon.
Inland gusts of 50 to 60mph are likely, with the potential for 60 to 70mph in some locations. Hills and coasts exposed to the south-westerly winds could see gusts of 70 to 80mph.
In addition to the strong winds, a period of heavy rain will affect western and southern areas. A yellow warning for rain has been issued for parts of Scotland, Wales and much of North and South West England.
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.
The Met Office said rain, sleet and snow showers were running down the east and west of the UK on Christmas Eve morning
‘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.’
The strongest winds and heaviest rain will ease from the North West on Sunday afternoon although conditions will remain blustery with showers in the west and some of these turning to snow in North West Scotland.
With cold air feeding in from the north, there is the continued chance of wintry showers through Monday and Tuesday, particularly over high ground in the North of the UK.
Temperatures on Boxing Day and Sunday are expected to recover towards the average for the time of year of 9C (48F) and could touch double figures in parts of the South.
But during next week colder air is set to return, sending temperatures back to daytime highs of 5-6C (41-43F).
The Met Office said that the weather is expected to remain unsettled for the run-up to New Year with more heavy rain and strong winds likely and an ‘increased chance of snow’.
In Cornwall, the Eden Project will stay closed over Christmas because of the threat of more landslides. It shut last weekend after tons of rock and earth, loosened by rain, began sliding down towards the ‘domes’.
With the threat of more flooding, bosses at the attraction in a disused quarry near St Austell said it will remain shut for safety reasons and the next review as to when it can reopen will be made on Boxing Day.