Many people who were looking forward to watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve had to change their plans, as stormy weather caused several events to be called off.
In the south-west of England, a winter wonderland in Plymouth and a firework show in a Devon town were among the casualties of the wet and windy conditions on Sunday. The Met Office warned that strong winds would keep hitting the exposed coasts and hills of southern England and south Wales.
The organisers of the winter wonderland in Plymouth said they had made a “very difficult decision” to cancel their New Year’s Eve activities because of the fierce winds.
They said they were “very disappointed and frustrated”, but they had to prioritise the safety of the visitors and the staff. They also said they would refund the tickets to those who had bought them. In Barnstaple, in Devon, the annual fireworks were also cancelled because of the “horrendous” weather, according to Devon Live.
Another firework display that was planned for the early evening and usually attracted families and children was also scrapped because of the weather.
The wind was so strong that it reached 74mph on the Isle of Wight, 64mph at Mumbles near Swansea, and 62mph on the Isles of Scilly by 6pm on Sunday. The Met Office issued a wind warning that lasted until midnight on Sunday, and said that the wind could cause some delays and disruptions to road, rail, air and ferry transport. Many train services were already cancelled because of the weather.
New Year’s Day swimmers advised to take a warm drink
Those who were brave enough to go for a swim on New Year’s Day had to face very cold water, as the sea surface temperatures around the UK were not expected to go above 10C, according to the Met Office. They suggested that swimmers should bring a flask of their favourite hot drink and have a sip after getting out of the water. The Met Office tweeted: “Fill a flask with your favourite brew and have a warm drink to help your body warm up after being in the water.”
However, the weather was not going to improve much after New Year’s Day, as the Met Office said that a band of rain would move in from the south-west, and that Tuesday would see another low pressure system bringing similar weather.
Village cut off by flooding
A village near York was isolated by flooding, as the River Ouse overflowed and covered all the roads leading to Naburn. The village, which is on the eastern bank of the river, has about 500 residents. A spokesperson for the City of York council said they were offering “appropriate support measures” to the villagers.
A yellow warning for wind was in place along the whole of the south coast of England, the West Country and southern Wales on Sunday, and the wind was accompanied by heavy showers that added to the travel difficulties. Meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said the showers in these areas would become more frequent and intense.
He said there was a chance of 10-20mm of rain in most places, and 30-40mm in some areas over the 12 hours. He added that the ground was already wet and saturated. He warned that the drivers who were out on New Year’s Eve could face some challenging conditions and that some bus and train services could be affected.