Christmas weather set to be wet and warm


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Those hoping for a white Christmas will have to put up with a wet and warm one instead, forecasters said today.

Temperatures could reach as high as 14C (57C) on Christmas Day, not far short of the UK December 25 record of 15.6C (60F) set in 1896 at Leith near Edinburgh.

But the mildness will be accompanied by rain that could be heavy in parts of western Scotland.

Following two snowy, ultra-cold Decembers, the festive season started today with temperatures as high as 12C (54F).

The thermometer is set to reach similar heights tomorrow in England and Wales which will be cloudy with rain moving south, but it will be cooler and showery in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Rain will continue in northern parts of the UK on Christmas Eve, with generally fine weather in England and Wales.

The high of 14C on Christmas Day is likely to be reached in Scotland, but Scots and people living in Northern Ireland will also have to contend with wet and windy conditions, with gusts of up to 60mph.

It will stay generally cloudy, with some drizzle, in England and Wales on December 25 with temperatures reaching 13C.

There will be similar temperatures on Boxing Day which will see Scotland and Northern Ireland having more rain, while in England and Wales it will be dry, but cloudy.

"This is likely to be one of the warmer Christmases," said Rachel Vince, a forecaster for the Press Association's weather company MeteoGroup UK.

She went on: "It's certainly going to be very mild, although there's going to be quite a lot of rain in places."

As chances of a white Christmas look slim, the betting world is focusing on whether it would be the UK's hottest Christmas.

Joe Crilly, a spokesman for William Hill bookmakers, said the odds for a white Christmas have drifted to the longest price in decades.

"A couple of weeks ago it was 15 to eight in parts of the UK but now it's 16 to one in 20 different cities in England," Mr Crilly said.

"Up until a few weeks ago we have been taking quite a few bets but it is down this year because it looks unlikely to snow."

He said attention was now on whether it would be the UK's hottest Christmas with odds set at three to one.