Revellers out to see in new year

Millions of people have again resisted home comforts in favour of pounding wind and rain-battered streets this evening, as revellers across the world celebrate the start of 2014.

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Fireworks light up the sky over Big Ben and the London Eye in central London

Millions of people have again resisted home comforts in favour of pounding wind and rain-battered streets this evening, as revellers across the world celebrate the start of 2014.

The annual crackles of fireworks and chimes of Big Ben will ring in the new year in London, where people have been queuing for hours to get a prime spot on the Southbank, while street parties and shindigs throughout the UK will coax others from their homes.

In Scotland, about 80,000 people are expected in Edinburgh city centre for the famous Hogmanay street party, with music from the Pet Shop Boys as well as traditional Scottish sounds at an outdoor dance event.

But those venturing outside to welcome in 2014 will have to contend with some potentially brutal weather, with the Met Office issuing more than 100 flood alerts, covering every region of England.

Revellers across Scotland and Northern Ireland will have to wrap up against lows of between 3C (37.4F) and 5C (41F), while those in northern England will face temperatures of about 6C (42.8F) and those in the South will celebrate amid breezy temperatures of between 7C (44.6F) and 9C (48.2F).

Any late night party-goers making their way home from around 6am will find themselves among the unsettled weather that is predicted for the coming week.

It means those attending tomorrow's annual New Year's Day Parade in London may have to contend with a miserable start to the year.

The celebration parade will feature music from around the globe, leaving the Ritz Hotel at noon and winding through Piccadilly, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square before ending in Parliament Square.

About half a million people are expected to attend.

Tonight in London, about 50,000 people will be given the chance to be part of "the world's first multi-sensory fireworks display", when peach snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles descend on a section of the crowd.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "There is no better way to celebrate the highs of 2013 and the start of an exciting new year than by seeing one of the world's most dazzling firework displays, now augmented in more ways than one.

"Watched by millions around the world, and hundreds of thousands of people from the banks of the Thames, it highlights our capital's fantastic community spirit and its premier position on the global stage."

Up to 100,000 people in key viewing areas by the Thames will also get packs featuring scratch 'n' sniff programmes, LED wristbands and seven kinds of fruit-flavoured sweets that link to the tastes and smells of the multi-sensory display.