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XMAS MIRACLE

UK weather – Brits strip off in Christmas sunshine as temperatures hit 10C after floods and gales

BRITS enjoyed a sunny Christmas Day yesterday — a welcome holiday respite after 60mph winds, hail and torrential rain caused flooding this week.

Many braved the chilly waters in Wales and the South West in festive cossies and Santa hats after the sun broke over the horizon.

Swimmers in festive cossies take their annual Christmas day dip in Porthcawl, Wales
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Credit: SWNS:South West News Service Swimmers in festive cossies take their annual Christmas day dip in Porthcawl, Wales Credit: SWNS: South West News Service
A woman braves the chilly waters in Wales for a Christmas Day dip
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Credit: SWNS:South West News Service A woman braves the chilly waters in Wales for a Christmas Day dip Credit: SWNS: South West News Service
Temperatures will struggle to reach the mid-to-high single figures, as this Met Office map shows
Temperatures will struggle to reach the mid-to-high single figures, as this Met Office map shows

Swimming clubs in Brighton and Hyde Park took an annual swim to start their Christmas Day.

In Wales, merry-makers splashed around the freezing waters dressed in festive beachwear.

The latest Met Office weather forecast read: "Scattered showers in the far north, else a dry day with sunny spells.

"Frost and a few fog patches in north-east Scotland and south-west England this morning, and then in central and eastern areas this evening."

For tonight, the weather forecasters added: "Frost and fog patches in the north and east, tending to clear as cloud and breeze increases, ahead of a band of rain moving east across western areas."

Bookies had taken a flurry of bets on it being a White Christmas and, according to statistics, that has happened 38 times in the last 54 years.

But despite the Met Office's forecast ruling out snow, the sun will soon vanish later this week.

More wind and rain is forecast for most on Boxing Day — with a mixed bag for all until the New Year.

Earlier, Brits were warned over "treacherous" roads amid torrential downpours as millions of people embarked on a Christmas getaway.

Pals splash each other on Christmas morning at the beach
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Credit: PA:Press Association Pals splash each other on Christmas morning at the beach Credit: PA: Press Association
Two women join other swimmers swimmers taking their annual Christmas day dip in Porthcawl, Wales
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Credit: SWNS:South West News Service Two women join other swimmers swimmers taking their annual Christmas day dip in Porthcawl, Wales Credit: SWNS: South West News Service
A couple walk through the freezing water in Wales this morning
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Credit: PA:Press Association A couple walk through the freezing water in Wales this morning Credit: PA: Press Association
Hundreds splash around the water on Christmas Day in Charmouth, Dorset
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Credit: Alamy Live News Hundreds splash around the water on Christmas Day in Charmouth, Dorset Credit: Alamy Live News
A pooch swims in the water in Charmouth, Dorset
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Credit: Alamy Live News A pooch swims in the water in Charmouth, Dorset Credit: Alamy Live News
Swimmers of the Serpentine Swimming Club cheer as they take part in the Peter Pan Cup race at the Serpentine in Hyde Park
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Credit: AP:Associated Press Swimmers of the Serpentine Swimming Club cheer as they take part in the Peter Pan Cup race at the Serpentine in Hyde Park Credit: AP: Associated Press
Brits celebrate Christmas Day on the beach dresses as the Queen and her guards
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Credit: SWNS:South West News Service Brits celebrate Christmas Day on the beach dresses as the Queen and her guards Credit: SWNS: South West News Service
Members of Brighton Swimming Club take their Christmas Day dip at sunrise at the Palace Pier
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Members of Brighton Swimming Club take their Christmas Day dip at sunrise at the Palace Pier
A couple celebrating Christmas in Charmouth run out of the chilly water
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Credit: Alamy Live News A couple celebrating Christmas in Charmouth run out of the chilly water Credit: Alamy Live News
Swimmers go for dip at the Serpentine in Hyde Park
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Credit: SWNS:South West News Service Swimmers go for dip at the Serpentine in Hyde Park Credit: SWNS: South West News Service
A woman with festive tinsel around her waist runs in to the sea in Wales on Christmas Day
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Credit: SWNS:South West News Service A woman with festive tinsel around her waist runs in to the sea in Wales on Christmas Day Credit: SWNS: South West News Service

SANTA'S SUNSHINE

Thousands of families are on flood alert and facing a Christmas wash out with homes from Cornwall to Middlesbrough affected.

A total of 138 flood alerts and 54 flood warnings were in place on Monday night after a deluge of rain battered the South of England.

AA president Edmund King said standing water remains on many roads in the south despite a spell of relatively drier weather following recent downpours.

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A recent AA poll suggested 74 per cent of motorists would risk driving through flood water despite the risk of being swept away.

Mr King said: "I have done a lot of driving in the last week and some of the driving conditions have been treacherous.

"Many rural roads in the south, whilst still passable with care, have large puddles of water on the sides.

"Drivers need to slow down if they want to get home safely for Christmas."

It came after up to 2in (40mm) of rain fell in 36 hours on Saturday and Sunday in the South East to cap one of the wettest autumns on record.

About 90 homes were flooded, with rivers bursting their banks in Kent, East Sussex and Berkshire.

FESTIVE FLOOD CHAOS

Flood chaos brought misery for families hoping to getaway for Christmas with queues of up to an hour on the M25.

Environment Agency flood duty manager Carol Holt said: "While the weather outlook is improving, rivers continue to respond to recent rainfall, meaning that there is a continued risk of flooding in parts of southern and central England over the next few days."

Christmas Day falling on a Wednesday is believed to have eased the annual getaway dash as journeys have been spread out across several days.

London Paddington will be closed from Tuesday until Saturday due to Network Rail carrying out track and overhead wiring improvements at Southall, plus Crossrail upgrades.

A total of 386 engineering projects are being carried out across Britain's rail network over the festive period.

London King's Cross, London Liverpool Street and Ashford International services will be among those suffering the worst disruption.

Passengers are advised to check journey details before they travel.

Residents were forced to wade through waste-high water in many parts of southern England
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Credit: Rex Features Residents were forced to wade through waste-high water in many parts of southern England Credit: Rex Features
Yalding, Kent is seen from above, with homes surrounded by water
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Credit: London News Pictures Yalding, Kent is seen from above, with homes surrounded by water Credit: London News Pictures
Fields were covered in water from the floods
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Credit: London News Pictures Fields were covered in water from the floods Credit: London News Pictures
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