Much of Scotland has been basking in the glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures this weekend.
Feeling more like summer than spring, UK temperatures surpassed Mediterranean temperatures, out-scorching Barcelona and Mallorca.
After a foggy Saturday in Edinburgh, Sunday had sun worshippers out in force around the capital’s parks basking in the unseasonal heat wave. The warm spell is set to see temperatures peak today before slowly dropping toward the end of the week.
The Met Office recorded the highest temperature, 22.8ºC, at Fyvie castle in Aberdeenshire, a new record temperature for Scotland in March. They have, however, forecast that this sunny spell will be short-lived with figures back down to the seasonal average by next week.
A research paper published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany warns that these weather extremes could be down to human-caused global warming. Lead author of the research paper Dim Coumou says, “The question is whether these weather extremes are coincidental or a result of climate change. Global warming can generally not be proven to cause individual extreme events – but in the sum of events the link to climate change becomes clear.”
The threat of global warming will do little to dampen spirits as the early spate of summer sun is expected to have people out in their droves in Edinburgh and around the UK today.
The Met office has warned people to be prepared for the first harsh onset of the British winter with snow threatening the North and East coast as far South as Kent. Tempratures could plummet to at least 5 below zero while struggling to reach 5° Celsius during the daytime. A second cold snap will hit early next week giving the British public their first taste of prevailing winter.
Low pressure will develop in the North Sea on Friday strengthening the North wind and causing temperatures to plummet. “It’s going to be windy, with a strong northerly wind of 30 to 35mph – a gale – down North Sea coasts.” Says Helen Chivers a forecaster for the Met office; “We are expecting sleet and snow to come down the North Sea with falls on the coast, the North Yorkshire Moors and down into Lancashire. They will certainly come all the way down the coast, possibly into Kent.”
The warning comes at a time of year when police forces up and down the country are warning drivers of the dangers of winter motoring. It is only a matter of weeks after a three day campaign of spot checks to ensure vehicles are properly maintained to cope with winter conditions as well as checking road signs in vulnerable areas such as around schools, hospitals and the approaches to accident black-spots.
Chief Inspector Andy Orr of Strathclyde Police Road Policing Unit issued the following warning to coincide with the campaign “Winter weather can often bring challenging driving conditions, with motorists having to contend with rain, sleet, snow and fog.In these instances, drivers have to be extra careful and need to slow down and be vigilant to changes in road surfaces.Motorists must also make sure their lights are on and are visible and ensure the windscreen is clear at all times. ” He added, “Preparation is vital in the winter months, taking a few simple precautions can save a great deal of time, inconvenience and ultimately keep you and your family safe when driving.” Cyclists and pedestrians are also reminded of the importance of their safety; road saftey officers highly stress the importance of high visibility and reflective clothing.
Up to date weather information for the British Isles can be found on the Met Office website. Further information on winter road safety can be found here.