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Dry and mild for most as celebrations begin

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Final preparations are under way for New Year’s Eve celebrations across the UK – and thankfully, the weather will be dry and mild for most of us.

Although Monday will get off to a grey start, conditions are set to improve throughout the day – with large parts of England and Wales enjoying bright sunny spells.

Wet and windy weather is forecast for Scotland in the early evening, and gusts in northern parts of the country could reach up to 50mph.

Bolivian dancers perform in Trafalgar Square, London, during a preview event for the New Year's Day Parade 2019.
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Bolivian dancers perform in Trafalgar Square, London, during a preview event for the New Year’s Day Parade

A weather warning for Orkney and Shetland comes into effect at 5pm, where 70mph winds could cause travel disruption.

However, it is predicted conditions in Edinburgh will improve throughout the evening – just in time for Hogmanay celebrations.

A Met Office forecaster said: “It’s a similar start today to the rest of the weekend, cloudy for many with some area of drizzle.

“It will be another mild day, with highs of 11C or 12C (51F to 54F).

“At midnight itself across the whole of the UK it should be mostly dry, but it will be cloudy.”

Temperatures when revellers welcome in 2019 tonight are forecast to stand at about 8C (46F).

Coloured lights are projected onto Dublin's Customs House during a test for the city's New Year's Eve festival which kicks off tomorrow with a family-friendly Liffey Lights sound and light show.
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Coloured lights are projected onto Dublin’s Customs House during a test for the city’s New Year’s Eve festival

In London, more than 100,000 people are expected to watch the annual fireworks display which, with eight tonnes of fireworks, is the largest in Europe.

Even Big Ben will come to the party, bursting into life to start the countdown, more than a year after it was silenced for renovation work.

The event is sold out and police have advised ticket holders to pack lightly and only bring essentials, as backpacks and suitcases are not allowed.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the fireworks would be a celebration of the city’s relationship with Europe.

“By paying tribute to our close relationship with Europe as we welcome in the New Year, we will once again show the world that London will always be open,” he said.

Tuesday will bring London’s 33rd New Year’s Day Parade, featuring more than 8,000 people from 26 countries.

In Edinburgh, the three-day Hogmanay festival began on Sunday with a fire parade through the city’s Old Town.

The event was declared a 60,000 sell-out more than 24 hours in advance after a rush of tickets sold in Europe, perhaps thanks to organisers launching a campaign to celebrate Scotland’s relationship with the continent.

According to The Scotsman, the biggest surge in bookings was from Spain, Germany and Italy.

Crowds build at Mrs Macquarie's Chair during New Year's Eve celebrations on December 31, 2018 in Sydney, Australia
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People have already claimed the best spots to watch the fireworks in Sydney, Australia

Around the world, the first major country to see the New Year will be New Zealand at 11am UK time – an hour after some of the smaller Pacific nations.

Australia’s east coast follows two hours later.

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