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Weather warning as fog hits large swathes of the country

Frost-covered trees on the banks of the River Forth, Stirling, on Christmas Eve
(PA)

It was a foggy start to Christmas Day in many parts of Britain today as the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning. Fog or freezing fog patches, dense in places, were widespread across many parts of the UK and could be slow to clear today

The alert covers large swathes of the country from the southwest to the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber. "Not everywhere will see fog, but where it does form, the visibility may fall to around 50 metres at times. Fog will tend to be thin and lift in western and some central areas of England, but will be slow to clear on Christmas Day in the east, perhaps persisting for much or all of the day in parts of eastern England," a spokesman for the Met Office said.

Slower journey times with delays to bus and train services is possible and there is a chance of delays or cancellations to flights, the Met Office said.

Temperatures will struggle if the fog sticks but there could be some brightness across East Anglia, Kent and particularly northeast Scotland.

However, for some parts of the country it will be a mild Christmas Day with temperatures of about 8C in London, Birmingham and Manchester, 6C in Norwich, 11C in Belfast and Cardiff and 12C in Plymouth.

Bookmakers Coral had issued odds of 1-4 that there would be a white Christmas with snow anywhere in the UK but that now seems to be unlikely.

Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said there was “probably a low chance” of a white Christmas. “But it only takes one flake to fall, so I would not rule it out yet. But at this stage, it’s looking greener than whiter," he added.

Temperatures are expected to be average for the time of year, with 5-9C predicted in the east and 11-12C in the west.

Later in the week there will be a mixture of misty conditions and sunny spells, with the potential for overnight frost if skies are clear.