After the warmest summer in six years, Scotland’s balmy weather came to an abrupt end yesterday with high winds of up to 100mph, cold temperatures, rain and even snow.
The Met Office said temperatures fell 8C in just one day, and the chill was made all the colder by the high winds.
Ferry travellers were the worst hit as the winds and rain battered the north and west of Scotland yesterday.
Gusts of 100mph were expected last night on mountaintops, which also saw snowfall above 635 metres.
But Met Office forecaster Dan Williams said that conditions should settle as the weekend approaches, adding that a bit of winter had arrived after a sunny summer.
He said: “It was the best summer since 2007, with more sunshine and warmer temperatures since then. But then temperatures yesterday were 8C lower than on Tuesday and, with the windchill, felt much colder.”
The worst of the weather was in the Highlands and islands, particularly on the west coast.
High winds prompted ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne to cancel a number of morning sailings to Barra, South Uist and Mull, as well as the Oban to Colonsay service.
A CalMac spokesman said: “Strong winds gusting up to 40mph have affected a number of ferry services across the network, with several sailings delayed or cancelled.”
The Skye Bridge and Dornoch Bridge were closed to high-sided vehicles, while restrictions were also put in place on the A1 near Haddington. Orkney Ferries cancelled the evening sailing from Stromness to Graemsay.
Mr Williams said the Highlands and the Northern Isles had been battered by 60mph winds throughout yesterday, while Aberdeenshire saw winds of up to 55mph. He added: “We might get gusts of up to 100mph on the mountaintops overnight. The high winds will continue into the morning, but should settle as the day goes on.
“The north and north-east saw temperatures drop by 8C, topping at 9C. But it would have been feeling much chillier as the winds would have given a double dose of cold.”
Colin Kirkwood, marketing manager at Cairngorm Mountain, said they experienced blizzard-like conditions for the first time this autumn.
He said: “It was like a bad dandruff day. The temperature at the summit was -3C, but with the windchill felt like -12C.
“The snow was swirling about this morning from around
635 metres upwards, but with nothing lying as the ground is still quite warm and we expect to go on offering visitors guided summit walks and guided mountain bike descents until the end of October.”
Meanwhile, a section of Broad Street and Castle Street in Aberdeen was closed to pedestrians yesterday after metalwork fell from the roof of the city’s Town House building. No-one was injured by the falling metal.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) had no flood warnings or alerts in place.
The Scottish Government said almost 200 vehicles were available for spreading salt and ploughing trunk roads in the event of ice and snow.
Today: Winds continue to be strong at start of the day, but should ease as high pressure moves in. Should be mainly a dry day with some bright spells, particularly in the late afternoon and evening.
Friday: Overnight temperatures could be as low as 2-3C in inland areas. Winds should have settled to light breeze. Another dry day with some sunshine.
Weekend: After some frost overnight, Friday into Saturday, the fine, dry weather should continue through the weekend.