Inverness to be hotter than Malta
LIKE the national football team, Scotland's weather does not usually compete well with other countries in Europe. But it can occasionally spring a surprise.
Tomorrow, Scots will be able hold their heads up in the company of some of the continent's hotspots, as the warmest weekend of the year is set to bathe the country in sunshine.
Forecasters predict much of Scotland will enjoy warmer temperatures than some Mediterranean hotspots.
Inverness is set to top the scale, reaching the balmy heights of 19C, with Edinburgh and Glasgow close behind on 18C.
This would make the Highland capital warmer than Malta (18C), on a par with Rome (19C), and only just behind the holiday islands of Corfu and Majorca (20C).
A Met Office spokeswoman said: "It will be a very pleasant day across the country on Saturday, with a lot of broken cloud."
Punters at the Grand National in Aintree will sweat it out with the mercury reaching 18-19C, while central London is due to bask in 20C temperatures.
The good spell started on Wednesday, with parts of Britain enjoying the warmest 6 April on record.
Santon Downham in Suffolk was hottest at 23.9C, making it warmer than Malta, Athens and Barcelona. Close behind was the Olympic Park in east London, which peaked at 23.7C as workers made progress on the site.
The average April temperature is about 12C, but many parts of Scotland surpassed this, with Glasgow reaching 15C, Edinburgh 17.7C and Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire 21.1C. However, other areas missed out on the mini heatwave. In western Scotland, people were deluged with downpours. Inverness was also a wet and relatively chilly 10C, while Fair Isle languished at 9.5C.
The heavy rain caused problems in the Highlands, with landslips closing two roads - the A87 Kyle of Lochalsh road and the unclassified route between Shiel Bridge and Glenelg. Both later reopened.
Flood warnings had been in place for parts of Sutherland, Easter Ross and Inverness-shire but were lifted yesterday. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said a flood alert was still in place for the River Teith, with water levels expected to remain high at least until today.
The Met Office attributed the recent weather to high pressure and wind patterns. A spokeswoman said: "We've seen some very nice warm temperatures across many parts of the UK. We had mild air blowing in from the Atlantic and over the Bay of Biscay, which meant there was hardly a cloud in the sky over southern England.
"But there was a weather front lying across Scotland, hence the slightly lower temperatures in Glasgow and Edinburgh."
On Sunday, things are due to return to normal, with temperatures returning closer to the April average of 10-12C during next week. The spokeswoman said: "On Sunday, we'll see some cloud around and we might see the odd shower, so we should make the best of Saturday."
But while we slip down the temperature table for a while, our temporary equals will maintain their consistency. On Sunday, Malta and Rome will still be 19C, with Corfu and Majorca at 22C.
A MAJOR tour operator is to make every one of its holidays "all inclusive" from summer 2012.
The move, by First Choice, will mean all hotel meals and drinks and in-resort transfers will be included in the price, along with flights and hotels. The deals can be booked from next month.
The company said all-inclusive holidays had grown in popularity in recent years and accounted for 65 per cent of First Choice sales at present, with the market having grown by 32 per cent between 2004 and 2009.
Johan Lundgren, the UK and Ireland managing director of First Choice's parent company, Tui, said: "All-inclusive is becoming the holiday of choice for many British consumers."
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West