Page last updated at 23:43 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Cold weather to usher in new year

People out on a cold day
Britain's cold weather is being blown across the sea from eastern Europe.

Revellers celebrating New Year's Eve will need to wrap up warm to withstand the freezing temperatures forecast for much of the UK.

The day will start cold and frosty, rising to just a few degrees above zero by mid afternoon.

Partygoers in Edinburgh and Cardiff can expect temperatures of minus 2C, with Manchester just one degree warmer.

But BBC weather forecaster Pete Gibbs predicted dry and calm conditions - perfect for watching fireworks.

He said the cold weather had been brought to the UK by easterly winds blowing across the sea from Europe.

But as far as New Year celebrations are concerned, the cold conditions forecast are an improvement on the wet and windy weather the UK suffered in 2004 and 2007.

Then, Hogmanay celebrations had to be cancelled in several Scottish cities.

Said Mr Gibbs: "New Year's Eve will be a very cold and frosty night, with lots of cloud around across England.

"On New Year's Day it will be more of the same: dry and cold."

Driving conditions

Extreme lows have been forecast for the Scottish Highlands, with a low of minus 7C forecast in Inverness on Wednesday morning.

More freezing temperatures are forecast for revellers in London and the south.

Drivers throughout the UK are being warned to watch out for frost, ice and patches of fog.

Luke Bosdet, from the Automobile Association, said it was important to remember not all roads would be gritted.

"Roads are prioritised according to the amount of traffic and their importance," he said.

"If you get caught in heavy traffic and decide to follow your sat nav down a country road, you may find it has not been treated.

"In icy conditions, keep your speed down and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front."

For long journeys, he advised drivers to make sure they were prepared for the worst in cold conditions, and to bring warm clothes and high energy food just in case they got caught up in traffic.

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