Scotland weather: 2015 windiest year in decades

Alarming official records from meteorologists say there have been just eight calm days in Scotland since the turn of the year. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Alarming official records from meteorologists say there have been just eight calm days in Scotland since the turn of the year. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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This summer’s wild and stormy weather has put 2015 on track to be the windiest year for at least two decades.

This month could also turn out to be one of Scotland’s wettest Julys, with 72 per cent of the expected monthly rainfall landing in the first 15 days.

The news came as the country braced itself for more icy blasts and heavy downpours, with further gales due to herald the start of August.

Official records show there have been only eight calm days since the start of the year, with none in the past three months.

A day is considered calm when 20 or more UK weather stations show peak gusts under 11mph. The last was in April.

Fewer than 19 calm days in the whole of 2015 will make it the windiest year since 1995 or earlier. Met Office weather experts say persistent low pressure is causing the pattern.

Climate information scientist Mike Kendon said: “2015 has the fewest number of calm days for at least 20 years after seven months of the year – and notably none in May, June or July.

“A lack of high pressure seems to be to blame.”

Widespread cloud and showers were due to hit much of Scotland last night and continue into today, with the most persistent rain in central and southern areas. Clearer conditions were predicted in the far north and northern isles.

But meteorologists say temperatures will remain below the seasonal average, struggling to hit the low teens in many parts and feeling even colder as a brisk north-easterly wind adds a bitter chill to the air. Overnight temperatures could even plunge as low as 4C in sheltered areas.

“It won’t feel summer-like and is disappointing for holidays, with windy conditions, rain or showers and already cool temperatures feeling cooler in showers and winds,” said forecaster Mark Wilson.

Northerly winds are picking up, with gusts up to 40mph on eastern coasts today and staying blustery until midweek.

The rain will gradually move south later today, according to operational meteorologist John Mitchell, though the outlook for tomorrow is better. It will feel warmer, despite continuing northerly winds, with temperatures reaching 16C in places.

Dry weather and sunny spells are expected in many parts on Wednesday, while skies will begin to clear from Thursday. Temperatures will rise as the northerly wind drops away, though highs are not expected to exceed a below-average 17C.

Further miserable weather is expected in August, with a continuing pattern of strong winds and outbreaks of rain.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of environment charity Friends of the Earth Scotland, has warned climate change will bring an increase in extreme weather.

“Last year was the warmest ever, in Scotland and globally, and this one looks to be one of the windiest,” he said.

“Scotland’s weather is particularly influenced by the position of the jet stream, so climate change means we can get a record hot summer like last year but we are equally likely to get a cooler, wet and windy summer like this one.

“The big question is how bad it will get, and that depends of how rapidly we reduce emissions from homes, cars, factories and power stations.”