White Christmas? Forget it, it's set to be the hottest for 14 years

DREAMS of a white Christmas were dashed yesterday with forecasters predicting no snow at all and the warmest festive season in over a decade.

Last-minute bargain-hunters swamped the shops wearing T-shirts and shorts and sent tills and cash machines into meltdown.

Meanwhile up to 20million drivers sweated it out on the roads, and airports and railways were packed as the great Christmas Getaway began.

Bookies yesterday slashed the odds on tomorrow being the warmest Christmas Day ever to just 3/1. The record is 15.6~C, set in 1896.

Eastern Scotland could be the hottest spot in Britain at 14C making it the warmest Christmas Day since 1997 when temperatures in Newquay, Cornwall, hit 14.8C.

London, Bristol and the Midlands are all predicted to be around 12C. Its a massive contrast to last years bitterly cold Christmas when temperatures plummeted to below -17C.

Forecaster Chris Burton said: Were expecting no snow at all.

The warm weather conditions have tempted more people to get away for this festive holiday.

Up to 20 million people took to the roads yesterday, but many suffered what the AA described as hellish delays