31/12/2012 03:19 GMT | Updated 01/03/2013 05:12 GMT

New Year's Eve Weather To Be Marked By Downpours And Flood Alerts

The end of the year will be marked by more downpours with much of England, Scotland and Wales under flood alert, compounding what is likely to be one of the wettest years on record.

New Year's Eve celebrations will be dampened by heavy wind and showers, as some areas battle to cope with 33mm of predicted rain today.

The start of 2013 is expected to bring some much desired respite from the rain, with weeks of almost relentless downpours expected to end tomorrow, replaced by cloud, dull skies and light showers.

But the heavy rain overnight and throughout today means the Environment Agency has 202 flood alerts and 86 flood warnings in place in areas where the ground is already saturated and rivers and groundwater levels are still high.

They follow hundreds of other alerts issued this month, as several days' worth of rain fell in a few hours at its worst, contributing to a year of bad weather which has left the UK on the brink of its wettest since records began in 1910.

Many areas in Scotland, northern England and northern Wales endured 15mm of rain last night, with 33mm of falling in Capel Curig in north Wales and 26mm in Shap, Cumbria.

Winds will also hit 50mph in the north and west of the UK.

Billy Payne, a meteorologist for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It's not going to be a nice end to the year with heavy rain and winds around for most areas, particularly in Wales and the southern half of England.

"The rain is expected to linger throughout the day and it is best to take an umbrella to any outdoor New Year's Eve celebrations.

"It will begin to clear on New Year's Day with cloud and dull skies following."

This month hundreds of homes have been evacuated and weary commuters and travellers forced to find alternative routes or abandon their plans altogether as sections of Britain's transport network ground to a halt.

Environment Agency teams are continuing to monitor river levels, clear river channels and ensure flood defences are working properly, and have erected mobile flood barriers in cities and towns such as Oxford, Worcester, Shrewsbury and Bewdley.

Larger rivers such as the Thames, Severn and Wye are likely remain high for several days.

Environment Agency flood risk manager Katharine Evans said: "With more heavy rain forecast, it is still as important as ever to be prepared for flooding, keep up to date with the latest warnings and, if you are at risk, to move valuable items to safety.

"Our teams will continue to work around the clock to protect communities from flooding, and we would urge people to stay safe by not walking or driving through flood water."

According to the Met Office just 1.8in (46mm) of rain is needed to fall by the end of tomorrow to make this year the wettest on record for the UK overall, with a new record already set for England with 43.1in (1,095.8mm) falling between January 1 and Boxing Day.

The UK as a whole had 50.8in (1,291.2mm) from January 1 to December 26, with the wettest year on record for the UK currently 2000, when 52.6in (1,337.3mm) fell. Confirmation is expected next week, and would be all the more remarkable considering the drought status declared for parts of the country during the early part of the year.