BRITAIN will enjoy a sunny Christmas Day — but only after 60mph winds, hail and torrential rain lash the UK.
A yellow thunderstorm warning was issued for today across much of the South West and Wales.
Up to an inch of rain will fall on already sodden ground after 2ins brought widespread flooding over the weekend.
The Environment Agency still had 200 flood warnings and alerts in place yesterday, with the South at greatest risk.
Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said a band of rain would bring heavy showers and thundery storms to southern England and Wales today.
The rain will fizzle out overnight with temperatures falling to -3C in the countryside and around freezing in most towns and cities.
He said: “We should all wake to a dry and bright Christmas Day. It looks as if it is going to be lovely.”
Bookies had taken a flurry of bets on it being a White Christmas and, according to statistics, that has happened 38 times in the last 54 years.
Despite the Met Office’s forecast ruling out snow, the sun will soon vanish.
More wind and rain is forecast for most on Boxing Day — with a mixed bag for all until the New Year.
It came after Brits were warned over “treacherous” roads amid torrential downpours as millions of people embarked on a Christmas getaway.
Thousands of families are on flood alert and facing a Christmas wash out with homes from Cornwall to Middlesbrough affected.
A total of 138 flood alerts and 54 flood warnings were in place on Monday night after a deluge of rain battered the South of England.
AA president Edmund King said standing water remains on many roads in the south despite a spell of relatively drier weather following recent downpours.
A recent AA poll suggested 74% of motorists would risk driving through flood water despite the risk of being swept away.
Mr King said: “I have done a lot of driving in the last week and some of the driving conditions have been treacherous.
“Many rural roads in the south, whilst still passable with care, have large puddles of water on the sides.
“Drivers need to slow down if they want to get home safely for Christmas.”
It came after up to 2in (40mm) of rain fell in 36 hours on Saturday and Sunday in the South East to cap one of the wettest autumns on record.
About 90 homes were flooded, with rivers bursting their banks in Kent, East Sussex and Berkshire.
FESTIVE FLOOD CHAOS
Flood chaos brought misery for families hoping to getaway for Christmas with queues of up to an hour on the M25.
The RAC also warned about 6.2million people are preparing to get away before Christmas Day itself, with “bumper to bumper” traffic expected.
Environment Agency flood duty manager Carol Holt said: “While the weather outlook is improving, rivers continue to respond to recent rainfall, meaning that there is a continued risk of flooding in parts of southern and central England over the next few days.”
An RAC survey indicated that 3.1 million drivers will make a leisure trip by car on Tuesday, as many people clock up the miles to be with family and friends in time for Christmas Day.
The busiest period is expected to be between 2pm and 6pm.
Christmas Day falling on a Wednesday is believed to have eased the annual getaway dash as journeys have been spread out across several days.
Southern and Gatwick Express train services were affected when all lines between Brighton and Haywards Heath were suspended on Monday afternoon due to flooding near Preston Park station.
This stopped London Victoria-Brighton trains from operating, although services later resumed.
London Paddington will be closed from Tuesday until Saturday due to Network Rail carrying out track and overhead wiring improvements at Southall, plus Crossrail upgrades.
A total of 386 engineering projects are being carried out across Britain’s rail network over the festive period.
London King’s Cross, London Liverpool Street and Ashford International services will be among those suffering the worst disruption.
Passengers are advised to check journey details before they travel.