Issued: 16th December 2015 14:25

The Big Christmas Get-Away

Start of the Christmas get away.

Friday 18th is apparently Christmas Jumper day, so dressing down to school or work or just some Christmas cheer for the pub in the evening. As some people begin to finish work this week, some schools also are ending their term and the big get away begins. Roads and railways are expected to be very busy on Friday and this coming weekend with people beginning to travel, or just heading for the shops for a last burst of Christmas shopping.

Already this week, it has been exceptionally mild and that continues into the weekend. So for travellers there seems little risk of problems on the roads from black ice/frost or snow Friday or Saturday. Day temperatures of 11 to 16C. Sunday night looks cooler.

It will be blustery at times but no gales are forecast, so good news for bridges/ferry services and exposed routes which can see restrictions in high winds. Friday afternoon and Sat morning could see strong SW winds through the Irish Sea and strong SW winds through the Minch Sat pm, but nothing severe.

With the breezy conditions, fog is not likely to be a problem, early morning flights Friday and at weekend from Heathrow and Gatwick should get away without any visibility problems. Be aware if you re travelling on the Heathrow Connect or Heathrow Express service that Engineering work is taking place between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport with some lines closed.

Rainfall could cause some issues for Western Britain. Flood warnings are still in place from flood event 2 weekends ago. Any extra water to these areas is unwanted. Eden Bridge A7 Carlisle and Gote Bridge A5086 Cockermouth remain closed with landslip and flooding damage in the surrounding areas. Area SW of York still has road restrictions due to recent flooding Western Scotland will see heavy and persistent rainfall Friday and Saturday which could affect some roads, prone to landslips and also rail services.

In addition, at times there will be persistent rain for SW and NW England, Pennines and Peak District, Wales, N.Ireland and Scotland, so there will be surface water and spray on roads. Areas with moderate rainfall totals of 30-50mm rain 1 to 2”, SW Scotland, Cumbria and Snowdonia

The Severn Tunnel has been closed for maintenance for the previous 6 weekends but will be opened this weekend. The Forth Road Bridge remains completely closed until 2016.

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Royal Mail’s recommended last posting dates are now beginning to pass for letters to Europe. Sat 19th for 2nd class UK and Monday 21st for 1st Class UK. Get those Christmas cards written and posted. Here's a round-up of all the last posting dates from the Guardian.

Handy links:
Network rail planned engineering
AA Road Watch

Local 7 day weather forecast
Xmas Forecast

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