Inclement weather has caused several New Year’s Eve firework displays to be cancelled, as heavy rain and high winds threatened to dampen the party spirit of thousands of revellers.
In the south-west of England, a winter wonderland event in Plymouth and a Devon town’s firework display were among those to be pulled due to the wet conditions on Sunday, and the Met Office warned that exposed coasts and hills on the southern coast of England and in south Wales would continue to be battered by strong winds.
Organisers of Plymouth’s winter wonderland said they had taken the “very difficult decision” to cancel its plans for New Year’s Eve because of severe gales.
“As much as we are very disappointed and frustrated, your safety comes first, as well as ours, and we can’t possibly take the risk,” they said, while confirming those who had bought tickets will be fully refunded. Meanwhile, Barnstaple, in Devon, cancelled its annual fireworks because of the “horrendous” weather, Devon Live reported.
An early evening firework display, often attended by families and children, was also scrapped because of the weather, it was reported.
The highest recorded wind gusts by 6pm on Sunday were 74mph on the Isle of Wight, 64mph at Mumbles near Swansea, and 62mph on the Isles of Scilly. Wind warnings were in place until midnight on Sunday, with some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport possible, with many train services already cancelled.
For those planning a New Year’s Day swim, sea surface temperatures around the UK are unlikely to rise above 10C, the Met Office said, suggesting swimmers take a flask of their favourite warm drink.
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, after a bright start on New Year’s Day a band of rain will move in from the south-west, it said, with Tuesday seeing another area of low pressure bringing similar weather.
A village on the banks of the River Ouse near York was left “completely cut off” due to flooding. All routes into Naburn were under flood water on Sunday.
The village, which sits on the eastern bank of the river, has a population of about 500 people. A City of York council spokesperson said “appropriate support measures” were being offered to residents.
A yellow warning for wind was placed along the whole of the south coast of England, the West Country and southern Wales on Sunday, with severe gales and heavy showers adding to travel problems.
Meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said showers in these areas will start to “band up”, becoming more frequent. “There’s potential for 10-20mm widely, and 30-40mm in some areas over the 12-hour period,” he continued. “It has been quite wet so the ground is already saturated.
“We could see some difficult driving conditions for those who are out and about for New Year’s Eve. Some bus and train services could be affected.”