Home » Met Office Says Temperatures Could Nudge 60F To Start 2022 As Warm Spell Continues

Met Office Says Temperatures Could Nudge 60F To Start 2022 As Warm Spell Continues

Britain has officially recorded its warmest New Year’s Day in history as the Met Office confirmed temperatures nudged over 61F in the capital to kickstart 2022.

The UK’s continued warm spell continued as meteorologists confirmed temperatures officially hit a record-breaking new high of 61F (16.2C) St James’s Park in London on Saturday.

That provisional figure has smashed the previous high of 60F (15.6C), despite much of the country continuing to endure an ‘exceptionally mild’ start to the New Year.

And the mercury rose to similar levels yesterday, making it a record-breaking New Year’s Eve off the back of a mild December in general.

Friday saw temperatures peak at nearly 61F (16C) in Merryfield in Somerset and Nantwich in Cheshire, which beat the previous record of 59F (15C), and meteorologists are expecting more of the same today.

The Met Office said two new all-time highs for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day had created the ‘unusual situation of one weather system perhaps breaking weather records for two days in separate calendar years’.

It came as swimmers in colourful outfits took to the ocean at a number of sites across the country to take advantage of the unusually warm weather.

At Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, groups of friends rushed into the North Sea, with some wearing bikinis and swimming costumes, while others donned jester hats, football shirts and Christmas t-shirts.

Swimmers take part in the New Year’s Day swim at Derby Pool, New Brighton, Wirral in the early hours of Saturday morning

(Left to right) Joe Sharples, Liv Thomas, Zoe Beal, Cath Eddleston and Jackie Hibbert from Reuben’s Retreat charity, during the Uswim New Year’s Day swim at Salford Quays

A couple smile for the camera as they take part in the traditional New Year’s Day swim amid record-setting temperatures

Swimmers stand in the sea as the sun begins to rise over Boscombe beach in Dorset on New Year’s Day

Joda Quigley, from Falkirk takes part in a New Year’s Day dip in front of the Forth Bridge at South Queensferry, Edinburgh

Looney Dook swimmers take to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland

Looney Dook swimmers make their way to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh

A woman carries a child from the sea as they enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim this afternoon

Participant dressed as a banana enjoys the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

LYME REGIS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England. The Lyme Lunge, organised by Lyme Regis Rotary Club, has become an annual tradition where hundreds of swimmers wear fancy-dress to raise money for charity. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Looney Dook swimmers take to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland

Participant dressed as Where’s Wally? enjoys the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants dressed as lobsters and flamingoes enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants dressed as penguins enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Two people dressed as penguins carry their dog out of the sea at the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

Three girls dressed as grapes jump for their friend as they enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

A Looney Dook swimmer takes to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh

Ashley Park, from Lanark takes part in a New Year’s Day dip in front of the Forth Bridge at South Queensferry, Edinburgh

Participants enjoy the Lyme Lunge New Year’s Day swim on January 01, 2022 in Lyme Regis, England

An area of low pressure over Ireland is dragging warm air up from the coast of Africa, before temperatures in the daytime take a dramatic plunge from Tuesday, falling to highs of 8C (46F) in the South and 5C (41F) in the North.

But despite the warmth in recent days, much of the UK has experienced grey skies and heavy rain which have caused some rivers to burst their banks, putting many communities on flood watch.

The balmier-than-usual start to the year saw people happily take part in traditional New Year’s Day swims across the country, including at Derby Pool, New Brighton, Wirral.

Speaking before the record was broken, forecaster Craig Snell said: ‘It’s not out of the realms of possibility.

‘It is the first time since December 2016 that we have had three consecutive days reach 15C (59F). It has been a prolonged mild spell.

‘It may break records, but I was much more confident we would see record-breaking temperatures on New Year’s Eve because the record for New Year’s Day is a bit higher. It will still be an exceptionally mild start to 2022.’

Conditions were so warm in London yesterday that the popular Hampton Court Palace rink had to close when the surface began to melt, exactly 59 years after the nearby stretch of the River Thames froze over during the 1962 Big Freeze.

Other ice rinks elsewhere also closed due to the warm weather, including those at Somerset House in Central London, Queen’s House in Greenwich and Coventry Cathedral. Leicester’s Jubilee Square rink shut due to a unspecified ‘technical problem’, although the famous Natural History Museum rink in London stayed open.

Britons took to Twitter as they shared their amazement at the warm conditions – with one saying they ‘didn’t need a coat when I went out’, another pointing out it was ‘warm enough to walk around in just a T-shirt’ and a third saying they ‘don’t even have my heating on’. A fourth added: ‘I’ve got washing on the line and my back door wide open.’

Mr Snell added that the average temperature in December and the beginning of January is usually around 7C or 8C, and this year’s warmer temperatures have been due to a south-westerly wind making its way across the country.

He added that the higher temperatures are usually localised, but ‘plenty of places’ have seen highs of 15C over December. However, he said January could see a drop in temperatures.

Somerset House in London yesterday confirmed it would be closing its ice rink on New Year’s Day due to warmer temperatures.

A spokesperson for Somerset House tweeted: ‘Skate update: Due to the effect of the on-going warm temperatures on the quality of the ice, we have had to make the difficult decision to also close our ice rink on 1 January. All customers are being contacted directly and given a full refund.

‘We are currently dealing with very high level of customer enquiries so it may take us longer than usual to respond. We are very sorry for this inconvenience and are working hard to ensure we can re-open asap. We will update asap if there is any further impact on future dates.’

A Looney Dook swimmer takes to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh

A Looney Dook swimmer takes to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh

Looney Dook swimmers take to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland

A Looney Dook swimmer makes her way to the waters of the Firth of Forth in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh

People were out in London’s Regents Park this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in London’s Regents Park this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in London’s Regents Park this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in London’s Regents Park this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in London’s Regents Park this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in London’s Regents Park this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

Colourful skies were spotted earlier this morning as dawn breaks on a New Year in Dunsden, Oxfordshire

People were out in Primrose Hill, North London this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in Primrose Hill, North London this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in Primrose Hill, North London this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People were out in Primrose Hill, North London this morning for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather on New Year’s Day

People make the most of the unseasonably mild temperatures on New Years Day along The Long Walk, Windsor Great Park

Meanwhile, a New Year’s Day charity swim in the sea has been cancelled because of fears the cheering crowds and the bathers, many in fancy dress, would pass Covid to each other.

The Caswand dip in the briny near Plymouth, which attracts thousands of entrants, is the latest in a string of charity swims to be called off today, even though many medical experts say the chances of catching Covid in the bracing open air is slim.

In the Devon area alone, similar New Year swims at Wembury and the Firestone Freezer in Plymouth are already cancelled, leaving charities facing a major hit to their finances. But North Devon’s New Year’s Day dip at Saunton beach near Bideford is still going ahead today.

People flock to the sands from all over the South West of England to take part, watched by as many as 6,000 spectators.

Ironically, this year’s swims would have been probably the most comfortable ever thanks to the incredibly mild weather.

In past years, goose-pimpled, shivering swimmers have braved sub-zero temperatures and needed to be wrapped in foil ‘suits’ when they emerged from the sea to prevent them getting frost-bitten extremities and even hypothermia.

Torpoint and Rame Peninsula Lions, announcing the news today, said ‘It is with regret that we have decided to cancel the New Year’s Day Dip at Cawsand beach 1st Jan 2022, due to Covid. At present it seems the only sensible option and our highest priority must be to keep people safe.’

The organisers of the Firestone Freezer, at Firestone Bay on Plymouth’s waterfront, said that even if the event could have gone ahead ‘its spirit would have been lost’.