Britain has marked its hottest New Year’s Eve on record, the Met Office has confirmed.
The previous record of 14.8C, held by Colwyn Bay in North Wales in 2011, was toppled at 11am on Friday in Ryehill, East Yorkshire, when the mercury hit 14.9C.
The following hour a high of 15.3C was recorded in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
Temperatures will continue to climb across the country later in the day before falling slightly at night as the UK rings in 2022, according to forecasters.
Areas of southern and eastern England, including the West Country, London and Lincolnshire, are set to experience the warmest weather.
“Our station at Ryehill, a small village in East Yorkshire, has recorded 14.9C today, which tops the previous record of 14.8C. It has provisionally broken the New Year’s Eve record,” Met Office spokesperson Stephen Dixon said.
“We would expect that to climb further and reach temperatures we saw yesterday of around 15.5C.”
Revellers in some parts of the UK will have to brace for rain in the evening, with light drizzle expected across pockets of eastern and southern England and North Wales.
But the overall picture is “exceptionally mild”, with unseasonably warm temperatures of 14.5C in Hawarden, North Wales, and 14.2C in Yeovil, Somerset, reported on Friday morning, forecasters said.
It comes after what is likely to have been Britain’s dullest December since 1956 with less than 27 hours of sunlight across the country on average.
The Met Office said there had been just 26.6 hours of sunshine over 30 days – 38% less than the national average for this time of year.
The figure places this month in the running to become one of the 10 dreariest Decembers on record, forecasters said.
Britain’s dullest December was in 1956, when 19.5 hours of sunlight was the national average, while the brightest was in 2001 with 64 hours recorded on average across the UK.
Met Office forecaster Craig 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.
Mr Snell added: “The globe is warming up so we would expect our winters to be milder than they were.”