December one of the dullest ever with just 26.6 hours of sunshine

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The UK is set to record one of the dullest Decembers ever (Chris Radburn/PA) (PA Archive)
The UK is set to record one of the dullest Decembers ever (Chris Radburn/PA) (PA Archive)

Britain is likely to have suffered one of its dullest Decembers ever, forecasters said ahead of what is set to be the warmest New Year’s Eve on record.

The UK has seen less than 27 hours of sunshine across the past 30 days – 38 per cent less than the national average for this time of year, according to the Met Office

The figure places this month in the running to become one of the top 10 dreariest Decembers on record, Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said.

Britain’s dullest December ever was in 1956, when 19.5 hours of sunlight was the national average, while the sunniest was in 2001, with 64 hours recorded on average across the UK.

One of the reasons we’re getting the dull weather is the fact that it’s been so mild. We’re drawing in south-westerly wind from the Atlantic and it’s also drawing in a lot of moisture. It keeps us warm but it also produces a lot of cloud

Craig Snell, Met Office

The Met Office has calculated 26.6 hours of sunshine on average across the country throughout the month so far – 14.3 hours less than what is expected for this time of year.

It comes as temperatures for New Year’s Eve are predicted to reach a record 16 degrees centigrade in London. The warmest UK temperature ever recorded for New Year’s Eve was 14.8 degrees in Colwyn Bay, Wales, in 2011.

Areas of southern and eastern England including the West Country, London and Lincolnshire, are expected to see the mildest temperatures, according to Mr Snell.

But even parts of Scotland could see warmth of between 14 and 15 degrees as the UK ushers in 2022.

“If things don’t change, then it will probably be up there as possibly one of the top 10 dullest Decembers across the UK. We’ve only got two more days to go,” Mr Snell said.

Mr Snell said the dull weather was linked to milder temperatures across winter generally, which are likely to be caused by global warming.

“One of the reasons we’re getting the dull weather is the fact that it’s been so mild. We’re drawing in south-westerly wind from the Atlantic and it’s also drawing in a lot of moisture. It keeps us warm but it also produces a lot of cloud,” he said.

The forecaster added: “The globe is warming up so we would expect our winters to be milder than they were.

“We always have milder spells throughout the year so we can’t link every mild spell to climate change but we can say that extremes in our weather will become more common as we continue through this century.”

Temperatures are set to drop from the Bank Holiday Monday on January 3, when highs of six to nine degrees for southern parts of Britain and five to six degrees for northern areas are predicted.

The cold weather is likely to return in the New Year with frost expected to creep in across parts of the UK towards the end of January.

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