MILLENNIUM COUNTDOWN: Open-air revellers face a wet start to the celebration

MILLENNIUM REVELLERS have been told to pack an umbrella if they're planning to attend outdoor celebrations after weather forecasters warned that heavy rain is likely to welcome in the New Year.

Rain is likely to hit most of the country during the day and although many areas will clear up in time for midnight, the likelihood in London is that as Big Ben strikes so will the rain.

The rain will take the shine off the chain of beacons that will straddle the country and the 200m high river of fire planned for the Thames, which is expected to draw thousands of revellers along the riverbank.

While organisers expect their pyrotechnics to survive the worst the weather is expected to bring tonight, it will pose a headache for the many open- air street events including theatre and dance.

London and the South-east will fare poorly tonight but the rest of the country looks likely to escape the worst, according to forecasters. Temperatures will range from 4C (39F) in Edinburgh to 6C (43F) in London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

"Scotland and Northern Ireland will be windy with a spell of rain during the afternoon and the evening but it should clear up before midnight," one forecaster said. "Wales and the West of England will be breezy and damp with some rain but it should hopefully clear up before midnight."

In eastern and south-east England, including London, it will be cloudy and breezy with rain coming in from the west during the evening. "Although temperatures are relatively mild, because of the breeze it will feel chilly."

Meanwhile, heavy rain has continued to plague the South-west where hundreds of flood warnings have been issued for rivers. Engineers were pressing on with plans to protect the Somerset town of Bridgwater after repeated rain and flooded meadows left the town's 14th-century defences, the Baltmoor Wall, at near-breaking point. The nearby village of Muchelney is surrounded by water at least 2ft deep and accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles.

While the weather poses a nuisance factor for many revellers, it has taken its toll on some of the wackier celebration plans including those of the British climber Paul Bailes who was planning to host a mountain-top dinner party.

Mr Bailes, 40, organised a seven-strong party to scale the 22,834ft peak of Mount Aconcagua in the Andes and set up a dinner table where they would have sampled a three- course meal with wine.

After last-minute hitches he swapped the location to the 4,400ft peak of Ben Nevis in Scotland. But because of treacherous wind, rain and snow the team has been advised not to undertake the task. It is now being rescheduled for March 2000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most