Sunny start to the year! Britain finally sees break in the clouds as clear skies replace ice and floodsTemperatures will be three or four degrees warmer for the next two weeksRevellers and early morning walkers welcomed January's first rays today
The dry weather follows the wettest year on record in England
, it's finally drying up for the start of the New Year.
Many families spent the end of December cleaning up after flooding and struggling to travel because of impassable roads and cancelled transport services.
But after the wettest year on record, the outlook is far brighter for 2013, with temperatures leaping by four degrees and the rain staying mostly away for the start of January.
Bright and breezy: Joggers and families enjoy a day out on Brancaster Beach in Norfolk to work off the excess of the festive season
Wrapped up: Parents and children dug out boots and hats to make the most of the dry New Year's Day weather
Blue skies at last: Britain had 1291.2mm of rain between January 1 and December 27 2012 – meaning it is on course to be the wettest year on record once all data is collected
Tally ho! Riders and hounds from the Zetland Hunt trot through the village of Whorlton, County Durham, to kickstart the New Year's Day event
New Year's Day revellers and early morning walkers enjoyed dry weather and looked forward with excitement to the clear skies ahead.
Britain is set to bask in sunny spells and temperatures of up to 14C for the next few weeks – in sharp contrast to a soggy and icy December.
A Met Office spokesman said: 'It is looking drier for the first few days of January, people will be pleased to hear. It will get 3-4 degrees warmer, so it's a bit of a bounce.
'I'm sure it will be very welcome in comparison to November and December, which were excessively wet.
'There will be a few showers later today in western and northern parts of the UK and the Scottish Highlands, but in general it will be a decent day to walk off the excesses of last night.
'Temperatures will be 6 to 8C – so fairly chilly – but bright. It will be a cold night after -1 or -2C, with a touch of frost, but only Scotland and Northern Ireland need expect much rain, and that will be light and patchy.
Mirror image: A field at Holmebridge, near Wareham, Dorset, looks like a shimmering lake after another week of heavy rain and the repeated flooding of the river Frome
Beginnings: Soft and pretty vistas give 2013 a markedly different look to the ferocious extremes of the year just gone
Make a splash in 2013! Waves break on the Cobb in Lyme Regis, Dorset, on a cold but beautiful winter's morning
Fresh perspective: A New Year's Day walker gazes out at delightfully clear skies and calm waters
Let there be light! It looks like the sun made a new year's resolution to shine, with most of the country blessed with good weather for January
Goosebumps: Brighton Swimming Club take a dip by the pier in a chilly sea this morning
Breaking dawn: A rambler watches the first sunrise of 2013 from Castle Hill overlooking the city of Cambridge
Warm glow: The UK is set to enjoy a respite from weeks of flooding and seemingly non-stop downpours
Rocky start: Professional fossil hunters see in the new year the old fashioned way on the Jurassic Coast at Charmouth in Dorset
Landslide: Overnight cliff falls could unveil precious and valuable fossils from 180million years ago
Jumping waves: The black cliffs and blue sea glitter in the early morning sunshine on a beautiful winter's day
Good morning, Britain! Revellers including a man dressed as a druid see in 2013 on Glastonbury Tor in Somerset
'Tomorrow will be fairly windy and chilly in the West, but most of the rain will be confined to the high ground in Scotland.
'It will be cloudy but milder on Thursday and Friday at 12-14C.
'There will be some higher pressure, but we're looking at mild temperatures in double figures and just a slightly increased chance of rain in the North and North-West.
It's a similar story on Saturday, with perhaps an increased chance of mist and fog, but it is looking quiet and settled as we go into next week.'
But the effects of the flooding are still making themselves known. A major landslide has blocked the B6344 near the village of Rothbury in Northumberland, since Boxing Day.
Concrete barriers were set up after reports that motorists were moving bollards around unstable ground to avoid long detours.
It is not known how long the road – the village's main link to Morpeth – will be closed, but businesses have been complaining about the loss of customers.
Making waves: Crowds gather at Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hampshire, for the New Year's Day swim
Taking the plunge: A brave man leaps into the freezing water at the North Antrim village of Carnlough
The road has slipped down the embankment in three places within a 300m stretch at Cragend. Northumberland County Council closed the road between Pauperhaugh and Rothbury and engineers were on site yesterday.
Chris Greaves, owner of the Coquetvale Hotel, in Rothbury, said: 'This is causing an inconvenience to any customers trying to get to us.
'I don't think it's going to have a negative effect on business because there is an alternative route.
'It's just an inconvenience for anyone visiting Rothbury because the main road into the village is closed.'
Twenty flood warnings remained in place in Yorkshire yesterday, with York being the worst hit in the region. But the inclement conditions did not stop one playful pup enjoying a quick doggy paddle at the city's sodden racecourse.
In the village of Burton Fleming, East Yorks, efforts to pump water out of a flooded village were defeated by further downpours yesterday, leaving New Year's Eve a bit a of a washout.
Round-the-clock efforts by the emergency services had failed to significantly reduce the water level, which has reached 12 inches deep.
The village has been underwater since Christmas Eve, and villagers fear they could face weeks more flooding as the water surrounding their
homes shows little sign of abating.
East Riding Council were working with the fire service and the Environment Agency, who have been operating five high-volume pumps in the village.
Some residents are battling day and night to keep the water from the swollen Gypsey Race water course from entering their properties.
Tradition: Divers throw themselves into the annual New Year's Day swim at the Marine Swimming Lake in Clevedon, Somerset
Parish councillor Keith Wells said there had been discussions about releasing water out of the village more quickly, but that could mean flooding in surrounding areas.
He said: 'I would say it's dropped an inch in the last 12 hours, mainly down to work clearing out debris from the Gypsey Race.
'There's about 20 homes that are affected to one degree or another – with water in or carpets starting to go soggy.
'Some people are trying desperately to keep it out by making a hole in the floor so they can put a pump in. This is not rainwater flowing off the surface, it is groundwater that is coming up through the springs.'
He appealed for traffic to steer clear of the village, to avoid sending bow-waves into people's homes, adding: 'Hopefully if there isn't too much rain, it will slowly subside, but I think we are looking at a long time, days if not weeks, before it comes off the highway.'
A spokeswoman for Humberside Fire and Rescue said: 'Water levels are the same; we are going to stay on the scene until anything changes. '
The latest figures show around 540 properties have flooded nationally since December 19.
The River Ouse in York peaked at about 16.5ft above normal summer levels – the second highest since records began. Yesterday the Environment Agency said the river was 12.6ft above summer levels and was predicted to rise 13.9ft overnight.
A teenage party-goer was lucky to be alive after falling into a flooded river last night and clinging to a tree stump for two hours.
The 18-year-old was on his way home at 2am when he fell into the cold waters of the swollen river.
Golden rays: The sun rises over Stonehenge for the first time in 2013 as winter clouds and rain are swept away
Drying off: The world-famous site looks more beautiful than ever as 2013 makes a promising beginning
After the floods: It will be three or four degrees warmer for the first week of the month, giving waterlogged families some respite from rain
Passers-by raised the alarm as the teenager managed to grab a tree trunk over the River Cynon at Hirwaun, South Wales.
Fire crews used ropes to rescue the 'exhausted' teenager from the waters.
member of the rescue team who saved him said: 'If the water had been
really raging like it had been recently it could have been a lot worse
firefighters were asked to remain downstream as a safety precaution in
case the stranded teenager lost his grip and was washed away.
The police helicopter was also called to assist crews by shining lights down on the river.
spokeswoman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: 'A male was
rescued from the water way in Tramway, Hirwaun, and was taken to
'We received the call at about 2.10am. He was recovered from the water at 4.06am.'
Despite his lengthy wait in the river, the teenager escaped unharmed and was allowed home.
Cracking up: The B6344 road between Paperhaugh and Rothbury in Northumberland has begun to collapse after crevices appeared following months of rain
Fissure: The road has been blocked since Boxing Day because of a major landslide – cutting off access to the nearby village
Villager Darren Powell, whose home in Hirwaun backs on to a stretch of the river, said he was amazed to hear the rescue ended so well.
Mr Powell, 47, saw the police helicopter hovering near his home for 30 minutes during the rescue.
He said: 'Recently the river has been the highest I've ever seen it. When it floods, it really floods, and it can be very fast and very cold.
'If you fall in when it's like that, you don't stand much of a chance of getting out alive. So the fact that someone escaped is a miracle.'
The rainy year just gone is already the wettest for England in Met Office records dating back to 1910, but forecasters are still awaiting final figures to see whether it is the wettest on record for the UK.
The latest data, for 1 January to 26 December, shows Britain has had 1291.2mm of rain in 2012 – meaning it is currently the fourth wettest year on record.
That is just 46.1mm short of the record of 1337.3mm, set in 2000, so if 46.2 mm of rain has fallen between 27-31 December, we will have a new record.
Beacon of light: A lamppost and bridge over the River Ouse are almost completely covered in the village of Cawood, North Yorkshire, with the water expected to go down in the coming days
Field or lake Flooded marshlands surround Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire
Water world: The low-lying land around the famous building is prone to flooding, with five rivers meeting at the spot
Game's off: Flooded football pitches at Tadcaster, where the River Wharfe has burst its banks
Cleaning up: Sandbagged homes in Burton Fleming, near Bridlington as firefighters battle to divert flood water from the overflowing Gypsey Race
Time for a refurb: At last, temperatures are set to rise, with only a little mist and fog to worry about over the coming weeks
What a washout! The Wolds' village endured a very soggy end to 2012 as river across the country burst their banks
Beautiful and bizarre: A swan swims down a flooded street in York city centre this morning
Goodbye to all that: City dwellers and country families alike will be hoping to avoid another year of such extreme weather