Vanishing act for new year fireworks

REVELLERS hoping to see in the new year tonight with firework displays could be scuppered by mist and lingering fog.

After weeks of snow and ice, the bitterly cold weather has given way to a welcome rise in temperatures.

However, increasingly warmer air has reacted with the cold ground, throwing a haze of fog and mist across much of the country.

Weather experts predict this murky blanket shows no sign of easing, meaning hundreds of traditional New Year's Eve firework celebrations will be cast against a dull, rather than crisp winter sky.

Met Office forecaster Mark Seltzer said: "The general outlook is quite murky and fog combined with the low-lying cloud is going to prove problematic for fireworks displays."

Aisling Creevey of MeteoGroup added: "Visibility is not looking great. People will still be able to see the fireworks but perhaps not as spectacularly."

Police are also warning that new year is historically the busiest night of the year for call handlers, and people should only call 999 in a genuine emergency.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police, which expects to receive an additional 1,000 calls tonight, said that they had received telephone calls over Christmas asking if the Snake Pass was open, when grit bins would be filled up and if it was the job of police to clear snow from driveways.

Another caller said: "There are some cars on my road, which I don't recognise. I think it's suspicious."

Firefighters issued a new warning yesterday after further reports of children playing on frozen ponds.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: "On Wednesday afternoon, firefighters were called to two reports of young people playing on ice – one at Underbank Reservoir, Midhopestones, and a second incident at Hillsborough Park.

"Firefighters are pleading with young people to stay away from the ice to prevent a New Year tragedy."