It’s never been hotter – record-breaking December temperatures confirmed for East Anglia

Daffodils in Thorpe Abbotts

Daffodils in Thorpe Abbotts - Credit:

It’s official: December 2015 was the hottest ever recorded in East Anglia.

With the festive period marked by a distinct lack of snow and mild temperatures the final days of last year always seemed set to make it a record breaking month.

Statistics from the Met Office show not only was December the hottest ever but it beat the competition by some margin.

The average temperature in East Anglia last month was 10C (50F), beating the record of 7.8C which had stood since 1934.

December 2015 also saw the highest ever maximum (12.7C) and minimum (7.2C) temperatures for that time of year.

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The weather has seen flowers blooming early across the region while animals not expected to emerge from hibernation for several months are starting to be seen.

However the warmer than average weather was not good for everyone.

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George Gittus, chairman of the Suffolk National Farmers’ Union, said they would have to wait and see how the mild winter would affect the year ahead.

“The bottom line is it depends on what happens between now and any harvest as to whether it’s good or bad,” he said.

“For orchard trees and shrubs they need a certain number of frost days to set a good seed potential but they are not looking very clever.”

A spokesperson for Suffolk Wildlife Trust said: “It is likely that the continuing mild weather will cause hibernators such as hedgehogs, dormice and bats to rouse more frequently whilst food is in short supply.

“On the other hand a mild winter is likely to bring benefits to garden birds that can struggle when the low temperatures really begin to bite.”

Martyn Davey, curriculum manager for the land-based area at Easton and Otley College, said the main threat to flowers by the weather was its failure to kill of pests.

“We rely on the winter cold to kill off a lot of the pests that have not been able to find shelter,” he said.

“We are getting more pests that are coming from Europe and they get blown across the Channel.”

One such pest, Mr Davey added, was the Asian Box Moth which have survived the winter because of the warm weather.

He said the moth’s caterpillars could decimate a plant in a single day, with cases already reported in Norfolk.

Last night two flood alerts, the Environment Agency’s lowest warning, were in force in Suffolk.

With rain forecast overnight the River Deben from and including Debenham to Bromeswell and the River Lark from Clopton to Martlesham, along with the River Waveney from Diss to Ellingham, including Bungay, were at risk of seeing their levels rise with subsequent flooding possible.

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