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Snow could fall two inches deep on Boxing Day

Forecasters had warned snow could fall on hills in England and on Welsh mountains despite the warm w..

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  • Forecasters had warned snow could fall on hills in England and on Welsh mountains despite the warm weather
  • Disruption to transport and flooding is expected with forecasters warning up to 1.5 inches of rain could fall
  • Temperatures hit double figures across much of southern England yesterday but the mild air was swept away
  • White Christmas is bad news for bookmakers, who took a flurry of late bets on the country experiencing snow

By Richard Marsden for the Daily Mail

Published: 15:56 EST, 25 December 2017 | Updated: 03:17 EST, 26 December 2017

It was officially a white Christmas for some parts of the UK, with snow falling in Cumbria and and Scotland.

At around 10pm last night, the Met Office confirmed Spadeadam, Cumbria, had experiencing snowfall.

They then took to Twitter to add that parts of southern Scotland 'are also seeing rain turn to snow'.

It is the first official white Christmas since 2014, when snow was recorded in parts of northern Scotland.

The Met Office traditionally defined a white Christmas as one flake falling on top of their London HQ, but has since widened the criteria to include other parts of the country.

A white Christmas is bad news for bookmakers, who stand to lose money after taking a flurry of late bets on the snow falling.

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Forecasters are warning one to two inches of snow could fall on hills in England, and up to four inches on Welsh mountains, tonight into tomorrow. Festive Christmas Day swimmers in Brighton defied a local council ban and took to the water as they do every year

Forecasters are warning one to two inches of snow could fall on hills in England, and up to four inches on Welsh mountains, tonight into tomorrow. Festive Christmas Day swimmers in Brighton defied a local council ban and took to the water as they do every year

Making a splash: Gale force winds and the high tide combined to whip huge waves into the sea defences on the promenade in AberystwythMaking a splash: Gale force winds and the high tide combined to whip huge waves into the sea defences on the promenade in Aberystwyth

Making a splash: Gale force winds and the high tide combined to whip huge waves into the sea defences on the promenade in Aberystwyth

It follows a very mild but mostly cloudy Christmas Day, apart from some sunshine in the south west.

Temperatures were in double figures across much of southern England yesterday and reached a maximum of 13C (55F) in south east England.

The figure was the same as that experienced in Nice and Rome, both of which were sunny, and warmer than a chilly Madrid, which only reached 9C (48F) yesterday, in overcast conditions.

Wet weather hit the far North West of England and Scotland yesterday, with up to two inches of rainfall in Cumbria, the equivalent to one third of the normal amount for DecemberWet weather hit the far North West of England and Scotland yesterday, with up to two inches of rainfall in Cumbria, the equivalent to one third of the normal amount for December

Wet weather hit the far North West of England and Scotland yesterday, with up to two inches of rainfall in Cumbria, the equivalent to one third of the normal amount for December

Istanbul was also colder, at 10C (50F).

Wet weather hit the far North West of England and Scotland yesterday, with up to two inches of rainfall in Cumbria, the equivalent to one third of the normal amount for December.

And not everywhere missed out on a white Christmas, with a dusting of snow expected yesterday evening in eastern Scotland and the northernmost part of the Pennines.

Those areas were warned of the potential for ice on untreated roads and footpaths this morning.

A Meteorological Office warning for snow and rain in England and Wales lasts from 6pm today until 11am tomorrow – so is unlikely to disrupt families' Boxing Day plans or sporting events during the daytime.

But the weather warning, which covers much of Wales plus England from the Thames Valley to as far north as Leeds and Manchester, warns of disruption later.

It states: 'Some roads and railways are likely to be affected by longer journey times due to standing water or snow.

'There is also a smaller chance that individual homes and businesses could be flooded.'

The warning adds: 'Snow may fall to increasingly low levels, giving a cm or two in places, with 2-5 cm accumulating locally above 100 m, and perhaps 10 cm in a few places.

'These larger amounts are more likely over Wales whilst East Anglia and Lincolnshire see little or no snow.'

The weather system will bring rain when it first hits but will 'increasingly turn to snow' as temperatures fall through the night, the Met Office warns.

Temperatures were in double figures across much of southern England yesterday and reached a maximum of 13C (55F) in south east England. Swimmers in Bournemouth took to the sea wearing festive outfitsTemperatures were in double figures across much of southern England yesterday and reached a maximum of 13C (55F) in south east England. Swimmers in Bournemouth took to the sea wearing festive outfits

Temperatures were in double figures across much of southern England yesterday and reached a maximum of 13C (55F) in south east England. Swimmers in Bournemouth took to the sea wearing festive outfits

The figure was the same as that experienced in Nice and Rome, both of which were sunny, and warmer than a chilly Madrid, which only reached 9C (48F) yesterday, in overcast conditions. Still, many swimmers balked at the temperature of the sea in BrightonThe figure was the same as that experienced in Nice and Rome, both of which were sunny, and warmer than a chilly Madrid, which only reached 9C (48F) yesterday, in overcast conditions. Still, many swimmers balked at the temperature of the sea in Brighton

The figure was the same as that experienced in Nice and Rome, both of which were sunny, and warmer than a chilly Madrid, which only reached 9C (48F) yesterday, in overcast conditions. Still, many swimmers balked at the temperature of the sea in Brighton

In its wake, the weather is set to remain cold, with widespread overnight frosts and wintry showers by day.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: 'Mild weather on Christmas Day is not that unusual. We had temperatures of 15C (59) last year, and the record is 15.6C (60F), recorded in Killerton, Devon, in 1920.

'But as we went through yesterday the colder air was moving in. Today, the best weather is likely early on, with sunny spells and showers in the west, and temperatures in single figures, before the rain and snow arrives in the evening

'In Northern England, it is due to be mostly fine, with sunny spells and scattered showers, some wintry.

'Daytime temperatures today will feel chillier than Christmas Day, at 6-9C (43-48F) in the south, and 3-5C (37-41F) in the north.'

He added: 'The outlook is for a continuation of unsettled conditions, with spells of rain coming in from the west, some sleet and snow in places – mostly restricted to high ground – and frosty nights.'

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Australia

Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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